Forget the bubbly at midnight or watching the ball drop in Times Square, Khao San Road will ring in the Thai New Year tomorrow with a big water fight and food market at their 4th annual Songkran festival. This event marks the second under a tent - the first two offered set menus, and a water fight inside the restaurant. "Due to popularity (and to prevent destruction to the restaurant from water damage), last year we switched it up to the heated tent and to incorporate street food stalls with guest chefs, to create our version of a Thai food market," says Priscilla from Khao San Road. This year the event will feature two tents, one for food and one for letting the aqua fly.
"It's just something that you don't see enough here…to let loose … very differently than Western culture," says Songkran sophomore chef Matt Blondin, who returns with a Thai street food-inspired menu that includes foot-long skewers (check out his menu). Other vendors include La Carnita, Come and Get It, Ardor Bistro, Gushi, and more. Food and fun aside, the event benefits Central Toronto Community Health Centres (CTCHC) - specifically the nearby Queen West Community Health Centre location, with whom the restaurant is setting up a year-round soup program. The CTCHC helps community members who face barriers to accessing health services due to homelessness and street involvement.
So water wars and tasty Thai food, all while supporting a good cause. Sounds like a win-win. But how does one win a water fight? "To win you must have fun," Priscilla instructs, adding: "an upgraded 'weapon' can help as well." Organizers will be raffling off larger water guns during each session, since the rules state no outside water guns are allowed.
But this could be a grey area, apparently. Blondin remembers, "last year they (told me) 'you're not allowed to bring water guns.' And I showed up and everyone had one…this year I'm packing heat for sure." He also had this advice: "Be alert. Last year I got slammed. Some girl threw an entire bucket of water on me." In short: don't bring a spork to a water fight. — Nelson Tam