As my days in Tampa dwindled to a close, I scrambled to do everything I never found time to do before. As a resident of the Tampa Bay area for six years, I had certainly had my fair share of Tampa adventures, but now time was running out. I remembered hearing whispers of a market at a temple. After finding a magnificent Chinese temple outside of Melbourne, Australia, I was excited to find this Buddhist temple in Tampa. My last Sunday in the Bay area, I finally made it to the Wat Thai Temple in Tampa.
Wat Thai Temple Sunday Food Market
On Sundays the temple features a popular food market (cash only) open from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. My boyfriend and I came around noon for lunch. The market itself features a variety of food stands with everything from delicious Thai entrees to traditional desserts. We browsed all of the stands under the pavilion before making our choices.
We started with some egg rolls and sesame balls. My boyfriend choose the Panang pork (a creamy peanut and coconut red Thai curry) for his entree while I settled on the pad thai (popular rice noodle dish). We both agreed the pad thai was a bit sweet, but the Panang pork was delectable. They even have drinks for sale including a Thai bottled juice drink with guava chunks (not my favorite). There are plenty of tables to sit at as well as a view of the Palm River.
After eating, we decided to take some food home with us. While there are plenty of meals packed in to-go containers for your enjoyment at home, my sweet tooth was focused on one thing alone: dessert. We scanned the dessert area and found lots of options featuring coconut, mango, and pumpkin. The chocoholic that I am, I was a little disappointed with the choices. We settled for a pumpkin cake.
Wat Thai Temple Service
After the market, check out the actual temple. You will need to wear appropriate clothing like longer pants and no low-cut shirts as well as remove your shoes in order to enter. The temple itself is small but worth at least poking your head into. Usually someone is there between about 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. to answer any basic questions you may have about the temple or Buddhism.
If you really want to get a taste of the Buddhist religion, you are welcome to stay for the one-hour service starting at 1 p.m. on Sundays. While the service is in Pali, there are English guides available.
As a strong believer in religious tolerance, I love having the opportunity to explore other cultures and their religious beliefs. It was nice to find something so foreign (not to mention delicious) so close to home.