WHEELING - Area residents can experience the culture and cuisine of Thailand during 'A Touch of Thai,' a special event that takes place from noon to 5 p.m. Aug. 29 at the Stifel Fine Arts Center.
Organized by Pom and Martin Tse, owners of Golden and Silver Chopsticks, 'A Touch of Thai' offers a mixture of delicious Thai dishes, handicrafts such as silks and jewelry and live entertainment including cultural dances and Muay Thai kickboxing, all to create the atmosphere of this southeast Asian country in the Stifel Center.
Pom Tse, a native of Thailand, wanted to give area residents an opportunity to feel the spirit of Thailand and experience the rich cultural heritage of her country.
"I wanted to do something new and different that we haven't seen in Wheeling before," she said. "I think people will enjoy these new experiences and new tastes."
Tse said people will especially enjoy Thai food, which is considered one of most hip culinary traditions of today.
This flavorful, spicy-sweet-salty-sour cuisine is exploding in popularity with thousands of Thai restaurants popping up across the U.S. Nine dishes will be served buffet-style from noon to 1:30 p.m. Some of the selections include shrimp and papaya salad, chicken with yellow curry sauce and pad thai, the best known and most popular of all Thai noodle dishes.
In addition, cooking demonstrations throughout the afternoon will reveal the secrets of Thai cuisine for those looking to recreate their favorite delicacy at home.
Muay Thai kickboxing demonstrations also will be a popular attraction at the event, Tse said, because the sport is famous throughout the world especially with the growing popularity of Mixed Martial Arts) fighting, which heavily features the Muay Thai style.
Fighters such as Anderson Silva, Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio Rua, Paul Daley, Diego Sanchez, among others are well known for Thai boxing backgrounds. Countless other mixed martial artists have trained in Muay Thai.
Muay Thai demonstrations will take place at 1:45 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. and will be conducted by Muay Thai Grand Master Lek of Ohio. In addition to demonstrations, Master Lek will discuss the history of Muay Thai, its cultural significance and explain the ritual movements fighters engage in prior to matches to purify the spirit, improve sportsmanship and pay homage to the art of Muay Thai.
Cultural dances will take place at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. and will be led by fully costumed Thai Classical Dancer Wannarat Techatanalai. Dance demonstrations will be interactive; guests are invited to try the movements.
Techatanalai and her husband also will display and sell Thai jewelry, silks and antiques throughout the day. Prasit Lohsiri of Far East Travel Inc. will be available to answer questions for those interested in visiting Thailand.
He will show travel DVDs and have brochures and travel packets available.
Thailand is often called the "land of smiles," not only because visitors love its natural beauty and historical riches but also because of the country's friendly people and fascinating culture. Tse promises an "afternoon of smiles" at the Stifel Fine Arts Center as people get a glimpse of the sights, sounds and tastes of Thailand.
Tickets for the event are just $10 in advance and $12 at the door and are available at Golden Chopsticks Restaurant on Wheeling Island or at the Stifel Fine Arts Center. Proceeds from the event benefit Oglebay Institute. Event sponsors include Pepsi Cola, Wine & Beverage Merchants of West Virginia, Jacob & Sons Wholesale Meats and Gordon Food Service.
For information, call (304) 242-7700.