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Why the World's Foodies Converge at this Pattaya Festival in Thailand
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Why the World's Foodies Converge at this Pattaya Festival in Thailand

Picture of Kelly Iverson
Updated: 21 February 2017
Between the electric bands, pulsing DJs, and popular artists, music festivals seem to lure in even the most geographically inconvenienced fans. That being said, not all music festivals are created equal, and Wonderfruit was a prime example of this. While music-lovers were eager to hear big names hailing from the United Kingdom to Korea, one large factor as to why Wonderfruit remains one of the most talked about festivals in all of Thailand is the food.
Wonderfruit Festival | © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson

The six pillars of Wonderfruit are as follows: arts, music, family, farm to feasts, talks and workshops, and wellness and adventures. While each one was certainly noteworthy and provided festival-goers an incredible, 4-day long experience, farm to feasts was one of the most popular pillars of them all.

Vendor at Wonderfruit | © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson

The food at Wonderfruit flirted with festival-goers taste buds, with delicious cuisine and remarkable dishes available at all of the vendors found along its sprawling arena at the Siam Country Club in Pattaya. Festival-goer and self-proclaimed foodie, Caroline Park, had this to say about some of the best food at Wonderfruit.

“The variety and quality of the food at Wonderfruit was incredible,” Park, a digital marketing director, said. “It ranged from casual street food to gourmet bites with organic, farm-to-table and sustainable options.”

Food vendor at Wonderfruit | © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson

From gourmet dishes to streetside delicacies, Wonderfruit had it all. The festival made sure that its selection of cuisine would please even the pickiest of palates, and vendors left ravenous customers anything but hungry. From Japanese-infused menus to pork sticks like those found on the sois (streets) of Thailand, these vendors did not fall short in taste or variety. Some of the vendors who left lasting impressions on festival-goers included Morimoto Bangkok, El Mercado, and many more.

Acai Cafe at Wonderfruit | © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson

In addition to a number of noteworthy restaurants that set up shop at Wonderfruit this year, the festival had its own operative onsite farm. Rice was Wonderfruit’s harvest this year. Rice is not only a staple of the Thai diet, but it is also one of the country’s major crops. In addition to India and Vietnam, Thailand is one of the world’s top exporters of rice.

Vibrantly decorated food vendor | © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson

Festival-goers were allowed access onto the farm and were able to explore and help cultivate it. To make the experience more meaningful, Sampran Riverside held talks and workshops in regards to Wonderfruit’s very own farm. Sampran Riverside is an eco-cultural destination that has been family run since 1962. Those who participated did everything from harvest the garden to make their own miniature scarecrows. One of the highlights was the Sampran Riverside’s signature rice alcohol, which participants were encouraged to try.

Food vendor at Wonderfruit | © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson

On Friday evening, herds of festival-goers made their way to the Theatre of Feasts, a remarkable banqueting hall. Gaggan Anand was one of the chefs who created the extensive feast. Gaggan is the head chef at Gaggan, and he arrived in Bangkok in 2007. His restaurant initially started out as a drunken idea amongst friends, yet some 10 years later and here he is, taking over Wonderfruit’s foodie scene. Gaggan, in addition to Chef Daniel Chavez of Ola in Singapore, had a sold-out Wonderfruit Feast. It cost each guest ฿ 3,000 (US$ 86), which was surely an investment for the feast to come. Some of the dishes on the menu included eggplant and spicy miso sake, country chicken paella with Indian curry, a space cake with vanilla ice cream, and much more. This was just one of many Wonder Feasts held throughout the festival, all of which were equipped with world-class chefs serving up some pretty astounding menus.

Crepe vendor at Wonderfruit | © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson

In addition to these feasts, Wonderfruit had an impressive number of things to see and do for the duration of the festival. Each hour was packed with some sort of workshop or class for people to participate in, with workshops geared towards foodies, yogis, hippies, and more. One of the workshops that lured in quite the crowd was held by Da-In Kim, a talented artist and illustrator who brought her expertise (and a whole lot of paint) to the festival.

“Overall the whole festival experience has been very relaxed, friendly, and organic compared to other festivals!” Kim said. “I love their beautiful design and decor for every stage and how there are so many nooks and crannies to explore.”

Artist and illustrator Da-In Kim hosting a painting workshop at Wonderfruit | © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson

Kim is an artist based in Seoul, South Korea. On Saturday afternoon, she hosted a live painting workshop at the Sharing Neighborhood venue on the grounds. 20 people came together to paint a drawing she had created which she named, “Wonderfruit Queen”. Kim got through the workshop with ease, and the afternoon of creating and painting was a success. One thing Kim found a bit more challenging, however, was deciding on what to eat first at the festival.

“It was a great representation of Thai traditional food and modern fusion,” Kim said. “So many yummy things, it was hard to choose!”

Crysthanamum tea | © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson

Kim was not the only one who took a break from work long enough to enjoy the festival and food. Coran Maloney, marketing director of Kolour, took his epic house and techno beats to Wonderfruit’s early Saturday morning at The Quarry, the festival’s after-hours stage. Maloney was another performer to get in on the great food.

“There’s nothing like a burger at the end of a big night and the burger from Junk was the perfect timing and ending to a big day on the fields,” Maloney said.

Junk Burger amongst other vendors at Wonderfruit | © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson

At the end of the festival, tents in the campsites were being packed away and RVs slowly began to make their way home. Wristbands were refunded and crews started to clean up the aftermath of Wonderfruit. And while the festival may have come to a close, the food devoured there will stay with festival-goers long after they depart Wonderfruit’s fields.

Art installation at Wonderfruit | © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson