Authentic cuisine, traditional dance ensembles and an exhibition of handicrafts are all part of the Thai Food and Cultural Festival which begins at the Metropolitan Hotel tonight. Running to October 23, the festival will take place at the hotel’s Trocadero restaurant. Jointly organized by the Metropolitan, the Royal Thai Embassy, the Thai Tourist Organization and Thai Airways International, the festival will offer the opportunity to enjoy dishes from Thailand’s rich culinary tradition, which is hugely popular around the world. One of the basic features of Thai cuisine is the way chili is used in a variety of ways, ranging from sweet to hot and sour tastes, but also salty and bitter. Chili combinations and much more will be prepared at the hotel by two Thai chefs. Also at the Metropolitan, a troupe will be performing native dances, while a group of craftsmen will demonstrate their skills at carving fruit and painting on small, traditional umbrellas. During the festival, all diners will be able to participate in a draw. Prizes include a five-day trip to Thailand for two or vacation time at the Chandris hotels on Corfu and Chios. Metropolitan Hotel, 385 Syngrou. For reservations call 210.947.1000. Menu prices are set at 30 euros (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and at 25 euros (Monday to Thursday).