Yummy Sunday at Tampa’s Thai temple
Few others seem to know of its existence but regulars at the Sunday Morning Food sale include those from Tampa’s growing Asian community and the international couples stationed at nearby MacDill Air Force Base.
Food stalls spring up each Sunday on the shady wide verandas surrounding the Buddhist temple’s building along the Palm River in east Tampa.
Just as they did in Thailand, good cooks from the Wat Mongkolratanaram congregation start prep work at dawn and by 10 a.m. the temple’s parking lots are filled with hungry customers. Most back seats have ice-filled coolers to take food home. Portions are generous and many folks eat for days on the bounty.
Donated are freshly prepared rice cakes, yummy fried plantains, lush milk teas, noodles, soups, and silky satays all cooked from baskets of fresh ingredients in sizzling woks and on griddles. A large brass bowl among the food stands is for the $1 to $4 cash-only donation for each dish. Proceeds have helped establish a school where children can learn to speak Thai and to build a vicarage for its eight monks.
Picnic tables in the shade along the river and near the temple’s meditation garden invite long social repasts. Boaters tie up at the dock and line up to replenish their larders.
Be sure to arrive early.