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Adventures in Tampa: Thai Temple

by Meghann on June 19, 2011

Tampa is full of surprises and today I discovered a new one.

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Actually, Kristin discovered it. I just went along for the ride. πŸ˜‰

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Welcome to Wat Temple – Tampa’s very own Thai Temple.

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Isn’t it gorgeous?

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Kristin’s Mom had turned her onto the Thai temple a while ago. Rumor had it that they had a killer Sunday market and we were both feeling adventurous enough to find out.

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The Sunday Market was an outdoor market that wrapped around the adjoining building to the temple. There were about a dozen vendors in attendance selling delicious – and sometimes interesting – Thai delicacies.

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You want weird food? Well, they had it – everything from interesting Thai desserts to various versions of custards, noodle bowls, sticky rice, and exotic fruit drinks.

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Kristin and I made a lap before deciding to grab a smorgasbord of food to share.

What really caught our attention was the custards. I’ve never seen custard prepared quite like this before.

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It didn’t take us long to fill our bags with food. We grabbed some utensils and headed to some shade before diving into our goodies.

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Our eyes may have been a little bigger than our stomachs, but there was just so much we wanted to try!

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First up, we sampled the veggie pad thai. It was really greasy and what I would assumed would be the closest to authentic pad thai that I’ve tried. Is it bad I kind of prefer the more Americanized version?

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The coconut custards were a little out of my element, but – when in Rome? right? I had a few and they weren’t bad. Sweet with a tiny salty aftertaste. I’m not sure I could take more than one or two at a time. Definitely more of a side item than a whole meal.

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The sesame balls were my pick. I have a fondness for sweet sesame balls.

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Tough fried exterior and a sweet, crumbly interior.

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And my favorite – vegetable spring rolls.

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It’s hard to go wrong with spring rolls. As long as they’re fresh and you have a peanut dip – you’re golden.

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And then there was the coconut balls – our most adventurous try of the day.

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I’m not a big fan of Asian sweets and cakes. I’ve pretty much given up on them after a Chinatown Food Tour that left me gagging the majority of the time. Still, I’m not one to try something just because I assume I won’t like it. It’s all about the experience, right?

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Here goes nothing!

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Quite possibly the grossest thing I’ve ever forced myself to swallow. The slimy outside and stringy inside was a combo that left me gagging. Definitely a texture thing and definitely not something I see myself trying again any time soon.

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BUT, I can say that I tried it. πŸ™‚

Overall the Thai Temple was a blast. It’s a place I want to bring my Dad too next time he’s in town because he would definitely get a kick out of it. My only concern was the HEAT and the fact that it’s an outdoor market. I would love to come back in the late fall and try one of the amazing looking noodle bowls when it’s a little cooler out. πŸ™‚

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I brought my leftover home to Derek (where he referred to the spring rolls as a condom covered ___) and then headed back out for soft serve ice cream.

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I’m not sure why, but I’ve been really craving old fashion soft serve ice cream lately. We tried to find a place to get some after the baseball game last night, but everything was closed. Luckily, Bo’s was open today and I was able to order a small dipped cone.

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Oh, yeah. Just what the doctor ordered!

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We’re heading out to dinner now to dine with Derek’s parents for Father’s Day. If I can’t be with my own father on Father’s Day – at least I have a back up now. πŸ™‚

Happy Father’s Day Steve!

1 River June 19, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Well done on being adventurous with the food!
River recently posted..Weekend Recap – 20-06-11

2 Kate (What Kate is Cooking) June 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm

LOL at Derek’s description of the spring roll!
Kate (What Kate is Cooking) recently posted..Just Beet It

3 Lisa (bakebikeblog) June 19, 2011 at 5:49 pm

LOVE it!!! What a great day!
Lisa (bakebikeblog) recently posted..Scenes from my weekend – Sydney Style

4 Lindsey June 19, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Yum, salad rolls and peanut sauce are my favorite!
Lindsey recently posted..This Is How I Roll

5 Sana June 19, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Bahahaha at Derek’s comment!
Sana recently posted..The Elbow Diet

6 Carolyn @Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well. June 19, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Having lived in Thailand for 2 years and now near Wat Mongkolratanaram, I can honestly say this is the REAL DEAL.

My favorite Thai dessert – Mango and Sticky Rice.
Carolyn @Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well. recently posted..Bottle Filling Stations

7 Su June 19, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Nice! Condoms and peanut sauce… you can’t go wrong with that!

8 Kristen (inspiredbydooce) June 19, 2011 at 6:17 pm

A lot of the time the reason I either love ir hate something is because I love or hate the texture.

You’ve now got me wanting soft serve too- and I’m not usually into soft serve. But that dipped cone looks like a little piece of heaven.
Kristen (inspiredbydooce) recently posted..one of my favourite things- run- swiftly ss

9 Tara June 19, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Yum, love fresh spring rolls!!! Love your dress!

10 Clare @ Fitting It All In June 19, 2011 at 6:28 pm

My ex boyfriend lived in St. Pete’s and we always meant to go try that when I visited! Never got around to it — sad because it seems like quite the experience!
Clare @ Fitting It All In recently posted..Sweet Potato Almond Butter

11 Bee Goes Bananas June 19, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Mmm, I miss chocolate covered soft serve! It’s been a while. Too long, way too long!
Bee Goes Bananas recently posted..Gruel

12 Aleasha June 19, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Looks like my kind of day!
p.s. Love the dress!

13 S June 19, 2011 at 7:07 pm

you looked so cute today in that dress!! πŸ™‚

14 Lauri (Redheadrecipes.com) June 19, 2011 at 7:10 pm

I think its always fun to try new things! My ‘rule’ is that you don;t have to like it, just gotta try it! Those sesame balls & Spring rolls look yummy! I thought the coconut balls sounded good, but your ‘bite’ looked kinda gross! Ha ha, least you tried it!

15 Lee June 19, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Derek does have a point there.
Lee recently posted..Vacation Prep

16 Ali @ Ali Runs June 19, 2011 at 7:53 pm

I’ve never had any of that style food–but it definitely sounds interesting! I have been loving soft serve ice cream with rainbow sprinkles lately, it brings me back to my childhood. πŸ˜‰
Ali @ Ali Runs recently posted..Thursday Track Day

17 Mary June 19, 2011 at 8:24 pm

I Loooveee that polkadotted dress! SO cute on you!
Mary recently posted..How to Roast the Perfect Veggie

18 Jessica @ Sushi & Sit-Ups June 19, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Good for you for having an open mind! I had sesame balls a long time ago and remember really enjoying them!
Jessica @ Sushi & Sit-Ups recently posted..Pizzeria Valdiano

19 Jenni June 19, 2011 at 8:45 pm

love that dress! so cute!

20 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen June 19, 2011 at 9:10 pm

That coconut ball sounds repulsive! I’m with ya on Asian sweets, not a huge fan at all.
Dipped cones are my favorite when I get real ice cream. I go with cherry though πŸ™‚
Gina @ Running to the Kitchen recently posted..Bloggers Greek festival

21 Michelle June 19, 2011 at 9:25 pm

I am in love with thai food. But anyway, I must say- you look gorgeous in your pearls and polka dot dress!

22 Holly June 19, 2011 at 9:34 pm

The food looks great! I LOVE spring rolls! Mmmm
Holly recently posted..Happy Fathers Day!

23 Kayla June 19, 2011 at 9:54 pm

I wish this post was a bit more culturally sensitive – that “weird” food that makes you “gag” is what millions of people eat everyday. I’m all for individual preferences, but …

24 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday June 19, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Sesame Balls that you get at Dim Sum are the best.
And, oh man, I love Chinese cakes like mooncakes and coconut balls. Mmmmmm

25 Dori June 19, 2011 at 10:05 pm

I’m pretty sure the pad thai in Thailand is supposed to be less greasy, not more. Most food is greasier here…
Dori recently posted..Focus On- Core Fusion at The Fitnessista

26 Piffles June 19, 2011 at 10:07 pm

those green balls covered with coconut bits are actually a Malaysian delicacy called “Onde onde” … I’m surprised to see them tagged as Thai. =)

Spring rolls and sesame balls are my fave, too!

27 Melissa @ Mouth Watering Morsel June 19, 2011 at 10:23 pm

HAHA the spring roll description. Hilarious!!

And for me being asian, I’m not a big fan of rice cakes (coconut balls).

At least you tried it! (:
Melissa @ Mouth Watering Morsel recently posted..Running Shoes

28 Amy @ love4living June 19, 2011 at 10:32 pm

I love, love, love your dress! You look so beautiful!
Amy @ love4living recently posted..Sht that’s Annoying Grocery Edition

29 Kristin @ FoodFash June 19, 2011 at 10:39 pm

The coconut ball was definitely a bad call… Still so full!

30 Monika @ Powered by Paprika June 19, 2011 at 10:44 pm

Awwww yay Theravada Buddhist temple!!

31 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife June 19, 2011 at 11:15 pm

I love LOVE veggie spring rolls and sesame balls too. YUMM πŸ™‚

32 Natasha June 19, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Thanks Meghann for this post….I’m so excited about this find. I’m going to drag my sister there with me the next time I’m in town. Oh and I really liked your dress too!
Natasha recently posted..Fresh Picks to Follow – Beach Bound

33 Kelly June 19, 2011 at 11:37 pm

It’s very telling that you called it “weird food” – with that mindset, your criticisms are less than surprising.

34 molly June 20, 2011 at 5:54 am

i agree…saying that a culture’s food (or way of dress, mannerisms, etc) is weird is ethnocentric. maybe phrasing it “food that i’ve never had” or “food i’m not used to” would be more culturally sensitive.

35 Meghann June 20, 2011 at 10:50 am

I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for my comments to come across as offensive. People call the food I eat weird every day and it never really offends me – what’s weird to one person is completely normal to another. It’s really all based on what we’re used to, I know my cousin’s wife (who is from South Africa) tells us we’re weird all the time for using pumpkin in sweet dishes. (something she didn’t grow up with) I’ll never forget when we bullied her into trying pumpin pie and she was gagging the whole time. We all had a good laugh. πŸ™‚

36 molly June 21, 2011 at 5:02 am

i understand you didn’t mean to come across as offensive. i was just pointing it out. i don’t think you’re a hateful person (i’ve been reading the blog since ’09), but calling cultural things “weird” or “strange” starts creating an idea of an “other”, and when people have the notion of an “other” it can often lead to hate and racism against said “other”.
i’m sorry to nitpick; i’m pursuing a doctorate in sociology and am writing about hate/bias/racism. it’s just always on my mind lately!
and again, just to clarify, i DO NOT think at all you are a hater/racist/bigot meghann.

37 Kayla June 21, 2011 at 11:41 am

Completely agree – thanks for articulating why it’s so problematic to call food “weird”. This post bothered me in that way.

38 Candice June 21, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Coming from another country, I think that is is weird that people eat certain things (cough grits and eggs in one bowl cough), but that is ok. Everyone is different and we are allowed to be. I don’t think that that your opinion is rude on your blog… IT is your blog of your opinion of your life. Love you Meghann. Keep up the great work, I keep on coming back for your opinion and still keep on trying new and different things, at least you are trying them and not just spitting it out unlike others might do!!! Love your SA cousin.

39 Courtney June 22, 2011 at 6:30 am

I think constantly focusing on the idea of an “other” whether it be academic or not, is what reinforces the idea and continues to perpetuate it. Experiencing other cultures, regardless of whether it seems strange or out of one’s norm, is absolutely not culturally insensitive – not experiencing it and then (still) referring to it as weird would be.

40 Floey June 20, 2011 at 12:10 am

I appreciate your honesty that some of the food left you “gagging”, but now I’m not at all tempted to try coconut balls. Was the exterior made of mochi? It kind of looks like a green tea mochi type thing with filling.

41 Meghann June 20, 2011 at 10:51 am

People have been commenting that what I had was a coconut filled rice ball and I believe Mochi is made of rice, right? I can’t say I’ve honestly tried mochi before.

42 Cat June 20, 2011 at 12:36 am

I crave good old-fashioned soft serve ice cream every once in awhile too! With a dipped cone? Even better! Jealous πŸ˜‰
Cat recently posted..Mermaid Duathlon- How it all Went Down- Happily 9th

43 Samantha June 20, 2011 at 1:30 am

Hi meghann! I’m samantha from singapore. I have follow your blog for a year or more and i really enjoy reading it!
Anyway, the coconut balls are actually called ondeh ondeh here. We all love it here! Sometimes the insides are brown shredded coconuts with brown sugar and sometimes it’s just watery brown sugar so the brown sugar will come flowing out when you bite into the coconut balls. ?

44 Samantha June 20, 2011 at 1:30 am

Hi meghann! I’m samantha from singapore. I have follow your blog for a year or more and i really enjoy reading it!
Anyway, the coconut balls are actually called ondeh ondeh here. We all love it here! Sometimes the insides are brown shredded coconuts with brown sugar and sometimes it’s just watery brown sugar so the brown sugar will come flowing out when you bite into the coconut balls. ?

45 Samantha June 20, 2011 at 1:39 am

Here’s the link for more description of making the ondeh ondeh(coconut balls) if you’re interested to know. Haha
http://www.seasaltwithfood.com/2010/01/ondeh-ondeh-with-sweet-potatoes.html

Ps: its actually palm sugar not brown sugar. My bad!

46 Christine @ Burning It Off June 20, 2011 at 7:38 am

Cold veggie rolls with peanut sauce are one of my favourite Thai apps… especially when it’s hot out. The sesame balls look yummy, the coconut balls not so much.
Christine @ Burning It Off recently posted..Toronto Wine &amp Spirits Festival

47 Blair June 20, 2011 at 9:24 am

I’ve been to both of those places!
When I went to the Thai market, I sat inside the temple for a few minutes. It was fascinating and very peaceful.

48 Andrea @ Onion in My Hair June 20, 2011 at 9:29 am

I feel for you for the gag-worthy coconut ball! I am the same way about texture…the first time I tried sushi was not a good experience! But good for you for trying it!
Andrea @ Onion in My Hair recently posted..First Sunburn of 2011

49 Marissa June 20, 2011 at 10:31 am

Eww, that picture of you biting into the coconut ball just made my stomach turn over! And I LIKE coconut… those spring rolls definately look like the tastiest thing there–you can’t go wrong with peanut sauce.

50 Greg June 20, 2011 at 10:32 am

LOL you fool

51 Jordan P @ food, sweat, and beers June 20, 2011 at 10:37 am

Oh dear, what was even inside of those coconut balls?! Looks like… shredded yuck.

I just think that all that Thai food makes me want to take a journey to Thailand… or maybe just down the road for some (americanized) pad thai!
Jordan P @ food, sweat, and beers recently posted..Six Pack Sunday

52 Dani June 20, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Hmm, I’d actually be curious to try the coconut ball! I LOVE anything coconut flavored!

53 grace June 20, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Ok. I LOVE the Thai temple. The veggie spring rolls are killer! You must go back and try the fried bananas though… I mean, they don’t sound delicious…. and they aren’t healthy… but they taste like heaven. There are so many people who want them, you have to take a number.
And Bo’s Ice Cream is right by my house. Way to represent.
grace recently posted..Monday blues

54 brian April 2, 2012 at 12:23 pm

just got back from this place on Sunday and i love your write up. i have never followed anyones blog but i just may have to start.

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