Saturday, July 07, 2007

Wat Thai (Thai Temple)

One of the things I love most about visiting Cali is visiting the Wat Thai (Thai Temple) in North Hollywood. It is the closest thing to a home cooked meal when I visit my family because my sisters and mom are killer cooks and the food I can get at the Thai Temple is nearly just as good (and that's still pretty good!)

Not only is this landmark a place of worship (not a reason why I go there) but they also have a gathering of vendors from the best restaurants in L.A. there to serve their food, drinks, and dessert. This event only happens on Saturdays and Sundays.

This is the main temple where most of the monks stay and Buddhists go to pray.

(This statue is larger than life though it doesn't look like it here. )

This is what the main temple looks like inside. Usually the monks are sitting on the platform to the right chanting. It gives me goosebumps to hear them chanting in monotone because it reminds me of when I use to go to funeral services with my parents as a young girl.

On this lucky day my friend, Lalo, and his grandmother were in my company. One of the first things we had to do was exchange our cash for these chips. The red, green, and yellow ones are equivalent to $2, $1, and 50 cents.

We will use the chips as payment to the vendors for our food and drinks. For some odd reason, this day was not as busy and crazy as it usually is around lunch time on the weekends. Normally there are lines formed at every booth that are (at least) 5 people deep and 4 people wide.

My first stop is always at this one vendor (don't ask me to translate the banner; I am illiterate in Thai). But I do know the gal at this booth makes on of the best papaya salads I've ever tasted and so getting myself a plate of it is a high priority on my list and that's exactly what I'm waiting in line for. It is such torture to wait in line but it's SO WORTH IT!! I also grabbed some sticky rice, chicken and beef skewers, spicy pork sausages, and beef balls to take home to my sweetie.

Then we sat down at the seating area in the middle of the courtyard for some grub. It is amazing the representation of different ethnicities that were present. The people apparently loved the food at the Thai Temple just as much I do! I had papaya salad and grilled chicken gizzards (not for everyone) with some fresh cracked young cocunut juice over ice and generous pieces of coconut meat soaking in it.

Then we walked around the grounds for a little sightseeing and checked out the vendors selling their loot of jewelry. Around the main temple, there are these smaller temples where worshipers will go in to light an incense and pray.

(Inside one of the little standalone temples.)

Soon it was time for us to leave. I went back to the house where I was staying to lay by the pool and have margaritas while Lalo celebrated his mom's birthday at a Brazillian restaurant. What a fun day!

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