Thai Temple | Wat Mongkolratanaram

Well that’s a mouthful. I originally wanted to make a post that had everything we did our second day up North. But we honestly did so much in that one day and I wanted to highlight the individual spots that we visited. So I’ll be breaking it up into separate pieces. We had kind of a cranky first day, but this day started off so much better. Our first stop was Wat Mongkolratanaram, a Thai Buddhist temple known for serving brunch on Sundays. Located in Berkeley, it’s a pretty popular place for Cal kids. I’ve never been so jealous of them before. This place was good. Sooooo good.

One of the folks living right next to the temple came all the way out of his house to let us know that we could park in their driveway to grab food. We walked all of ten feet to get to the temple and spent a little bit of time looking at the cool features and snapping photos. People started spilling in, so we hurried inside to grab some goodies before the lines got too long.


Technically, the temple cannot actually sell food. So the whole system is based on donations through proxy vendors. That way the monks themselves never handle physical money. You go up to the vendors and pay them a dollar per coin for however many coins you would like. There’s a poster up that gives suggested donation amounts per food item. Then you take the coins to the monks and trade it for portions of food.

$15 ended up being enough for us to try everything that we wanted. We got green curry, pad thai and the pork green beans. I know it’s not the most appetizing looking picture in the world, but oh man, this was amazing. The pad thai was pretty standard but I loved the curry and the pork green beans. Spicy and delicious!

We also ordered a Thai tea and these little desserts. That was the best thai tea I’ve ever had and it came in a regular-sized fountain drink cup. I wish we had gotten one more to go. The little white round desserts below are Kanom Krok, a cross between coconut pudding and coconut pancakes. Super squishy and creamy and sweet! Alan really liked these. I liked them too, but I preferred the crispy fried taro beside them. So crunchy!

It’s not a fancy establishment by any means. Food is served in to-go boxes and sold outdoors under portable canopies. The seating is all communal in a series of picnic tables, but it has a real community vibe to it. We were both stuffed and completely satisfied. Just goes to show, great food does not have to equal a sad wallet.

Just writing this post has me craving it again. Anyone know of any Thai temples that do a similar thing down here in LA? Please, my stomach will thank you.

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