“Prepare to get wet,” says Faith, the marketing communications executive of the renowned Thai restaurant, Tamarind Hill Singapore, and its sister hotel, the Villa Samadhi Singapore, as she invited us for their annual Thai New Year Songkran festivities alongside the World Gourmet Summit celebrations. “But isn’t this supposed to be a fancy dinner?” I asked. “Should I forgo then of my usual weeknight leather shoes in favor of more casual rubber slippers? Should I bring extra clothes? Are they going to splash water on me while I eat my mango sticky rice?,” I definitely had a lot of questions, when all I wanted was to enjoy a good dinner.
Water splashing and dabbing white paint on faces have been the longstanding tradition among local Thais during Songkran. And since Tamarind Hill employs around 80% staff from Thailand, it is no wonder why they had to follow these customs too.
Two beautiful ladies greeted us as we entered their doors, “Sawadee ka!” They then pressed white powders on both our cheeks as we were politely ushered to our table.
We started the night downing a glass of white wine before we headed to the buffet area organized outside the dining hall. With all sorts of delectable dishes served — from Pad Thais to tom yums, papaya salads, and grilled pork — we knew we were in for a big tummy treat. Their dishes were visually appealing too which showcased a myriad of colors in their ingredients and presentations.
In the midst of our dinner and almost right after the beguiling solo traditional dance number by one of the Thai performers, the splashing already started with the staff carrying buckets of ice and cold water. It was entertaining to see everyone having fun. They were laughing and teasing each other — and it was a cultural immersion for me as I haven’t personally experienced the actual Songkran in Thailand yet.
I had my fair share of shivers literally running down my spine as one of their staff hopped from one table to another playfully inserting ice cubes inside our shirts. Although it would have been fun to participate more with them, I realized it would be better to come home dry. I came home happy though!