There’s a Buddhist temple in St. Louis.
Wat Phrasriratanaram Buddhist Temple & Meditation Center is located in a quiet Florissant neighborhood. The temple also serves as a meditation center. According to its website, the temple offers free meditation classes, Thai culture and language classes, and occasional fruit and vegetable carving classes.
Each food fair is held once a month on a Sunday.
My work schedule recently shifted to give me Sundays off and I jumped at the opportunity to visit the July fair. The week before, fair organizers posted a menu on the temple’s Facebook event page. I’d tried some of the dishes before, such as papaya salad and chicken laarb. Others struck me as unfamiliar including pork curry with water spinach and mung bean rice crepes.
I had read somewhere to arrive early so I did. A few small groups of people waited in the entry. They were first timers who were as excited as I was. A woman warmly welcomed us and led us upstairs. Along the way, she also invited us to peruse their garage sale and attend a future meditation event with a free dinner.
Tables of food awaited us. But first, we paused at the entry table to purchase meal tickets. Each costs $1 and you can buy any amount
Most appetizers cost between $2-3 while entrees cost $5. I had a difficult time trying to decide which dishes to try. Although many of us were first-timers, others seemed to know exactly what they wanted. I watched as people decisively ordered plates of food to take to their families waiting at tables.
Two women in front of me ordered the bamboo shoot salad, so I knew I needed to try some. I also chose Pad Prik King and stir fried catfish, attempting to order food from three different tables.
The woman who prepared the Pad Prik King chicken and green bean dish invited me sample of her drunken noodle dish. “It’s different from what you probably find at restaurants,” she said and added a scoop to my plate . And when I asked her for a to-go container, she offered to pack up my meal herself, ladling over extra sauce before shutting the lid.
Everything tasted fresh, everything tasted like it was prepared with love. Hell, I felt very loved just attending the event and ordering food.
None of the dishes I ordered tasted especially spicy, however each woman provided dried chilies and hot sauces to garnish. I was especially intrigued with the variety of desserts. Besides mango and sticky rice, I saw many other items like dumplings, crepes and puddings that I’ve never seen before. Next time.
For an opportunity to enjoy Thai home cooking, add the next food fair to your calendar on Sunday, August 21st, 11am – 2pm. Prices are very reasonable. Visit closer to opening for the best selection of dishes. The fair was busy during the first half hour so I’d imagine popular dishes sell out. There are tables to enjoy your meal at the temple and to-go containers for later.
Bring friends so you can try even more dishes!
890 Lindsay Lane, Florissant, MO 63031