Thai restaurant Long Chim in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne is celebrating Songkran, Thailand’s New Year festival this month. “Songkran is a happy time, a wet time, a messy time, a dishevelled time and a fantastic time,” says David Thompson, executive chef and owner and one of the only chefs to receive a Michelin star for Thai food.
It’s the biggest event on the Thai calendar. The “wet, messy and dishevelled” element comes from the tradition of showering water on yourself, your family, your friends and anyone in your proximity. “The tradition of Songkran started by trickling a bit of water onto the Buddha's head to acknowledge the blessing you'd received. You'd then trickle water on people's heads to help wash away their sins or the previous year’s transgressions,” Thompson says. “In polite circles that's still what happens, which is great, if somewhat tedious. The better fun is had outside with the hoi polloi who throw buckets of water on each other.”
He’s not exaggerating. The main streets of Bangkok, Chang Mai and other major cities are closed off so thousands of people, armed with water pistols, buckets and even fire hydrant-style cannons, can engage in large-scale water fight. “It's all done in good humour. There's no violence or aggression,” says Thompson. “It shows what Thais are really like: boisterous, fun-loving and quite reckless.”
Like almost every celebration in Thai culture, New Year isn’t complete without a feast with family or friends. Most Thai people in Sydney will celebrate with family at local temples at home, but for those who want to experience a Thai feast for the occasion, Long Chim will oblige.
Broadsheet and Long Chim Sydney, Perth and Melbourne are giving you the chance to win one of three exclusive 10-person dinners in the restaurant’s private dining rooms. Thompson’s nine-course feast starts with chive cakes and patties of crispy prawns and moves into a shared banquet with massaman curry, garlicky watercress and salt-encrusted perch. Cocktails and matched wines are included.
The competition runs from April 3–12. To enter, sign up to our newsletter and Long Chim’s database using the entry form below. The winner will be drawn on April 13.
Broadsheet would like to thank everyone who entered and congratulate our winner Emma H.
This article is presented in partnership with Long Chim.