In Bangkok, Yaowarat is the first place people think of when joining the annual Vegetarian Festival. Each morning, people gradually arrive to shop for a wide variety of products, especially vegetarian food, agricultural protein and fruit at this time of year. However, vendors on the street, say there are fewer people buying vegetarian food this year.
At the old Yaowarat market, vendors offer ready-made vegetarian food as they do every year. A large number of customers also line up to buy agricultural protein, shredded mushrooms, vegetarian spicy salad, spicy mushroom salad, fried tofu and various kinds of curry. Vendors say that ingredient prices are slightly higher compared to this time last year but they have also raised food prices in accordance with current economic conditions.
People shopping for vegetarian food said today the prices of the food this year remain about the same as in previous years and only the prices of a few products have been raised but they are willing to pay because they eat vegetarian food every year and it is considered another way to make merit.
At Muang Phichit Municipality Market and around Phichit city, the vegetarian festival is growing more lively. Entrepreneurs have been selling vegetarian food and decorating their shops in accordance with the normal festival atmosphere. Meanwhile, at the Phichit Samakkhi Kusol Sathan Songkhroh Foundation, Muang Phichit district, cooks have been preparing enough ingredients to serve people who eat 30 vegetarian meals throughout the 10 days, free of charge.
At Twin Lotus Hotel, in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, people come to eat free vegetarian food offered annually by the hotel to make merit, and to help Thai people this year because of the COVID-19 economic crisis. Free vegetarian food is being offered twice daily until October 25, 2020. Each meal time at the hotel can accommodate up to 1,000 people.