The State Railway of Thailand launched special train services yesterday for anyone, especially fans of K-pop idol Lalisa “Lisa” Manoban, wanting to celebrate the meatball festival in the north-eastern province of Buri Ram. The services will run until September 24th.
SRT Governor Nirut Maneebhandu said that there are seven trains leaving every day from Bangkok, Nakhon Ratchasima and Ubon Ratchathani for Buri Ram during the week-long festival.
From Bangkok, the No 135 special train, with four air conditioned cars, leaves the Bang Sue grand station at 6.40am and arrives in Buri Ram at 2.19pm.
From Ubon Ratchathani, there is one special rapid train, with four air conditioned cars, leaving at 7am and arriving in Buri Ram at 10.27am and two local trains, leaving at 6.20am and 12.35pm, and arriving in Buri Ram at 9.30am and 4.15pm respectively.
From Nakhon Ratchasima, there are three local trains leaving at 6.10am, 2.20pm and 4.50pm from the provincial railway station, arriving in Buri Ram at 8.08am, 4.32pm and 7.13pm respectively.
The SRT governor said that the meatball festival is intended to promote domestic tourism and to help distribute income to upcountry provinces.
Grilled and deep-fried meatballs, on sale at stalls in front of Buri Ram railway station, have suddenly become very popular after the K-pop idol Lalisa told a TV talk show last week that her favourite snack in her hometown in Buri Ram is the grilled or deep-fried meatballs, dipped in the chili sauce only found in the province.
People normally eat the meatballs standing in front of the station, hence the signboard “look chin yuen kin”, literally meaning eating meatballs while standing.
The craze for meatballs has been a boon for vendors following the singer’s interview and the recent release of her solo “Lalisa” music video, which attracted 73.6 million views worldwide on YouTube in the first 24 hours following its release, beating the record set by US pop singer Taylor Swift.