A few weeks ago, our neighbor, Vimmi, told us about a Sunday morning market at the “Thai Temple”. I had somehow never heard of it, yet when I looked up more info online, it was rated as the #10 best attraction in Tampa on Tripadvisor and everyone on Yelp raved about it! Growing up in Tampa (and loving Asian food), I’m not sure how I could have possibly missed the memo.
It takes place at grounds of the Wat Mongkolrata Buddhist Temple, which is just between Brandon and Tampa overlooking the Palm River. You can tell the food is worthwhile because there were people directing the traffic for parking! The location is beautiful. The first thing we noticed was the ornate temple and golden Buddha statue. There are picnic benches shaded by oak trees overlooking the river – a nice peaceful site to enjoy a Sunday morning.
Dozens of tables were set up with volunteers serving a variety of meats, curry dishes, noodle soups, kabobs, salads, egg and spring rolls, drinks, and desserts. They also had stands set up selling fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Some of the foods were ones I had never even heard of before. We sampled a small sweet fruit called a longan (which translates to “Dragon Eye” – the texture actually was a bit like an eyeball).
I had Thai tea, and Lance and I split pork egg rolls, shrimp spring rolls, and a coconut dessert made with sticky rice. Everything tasted so fresh and authentic. I really loved the peanut dipping sauce for the spring rolls. Lance also bought some chicken wings and sausage to bring to work for lunch.Be prepared with cash since there are no credit cards accepted. Although you really don’t need much because it’s all very reasonably priced! Lance and I together barely spent around $15, and that included the extra food he bought to go.
I’m only regretting that I didn’t find out about this market sooner! I’m sure I’ll be a regular now – especially once the weather cools off a bit. If anyone is free on a Sunday, let me know because I’m already ready to go back again!
The Wat Mongkolrata Sunday Market is located at 5306 Palm River Rd, Tampa, FL 33619 and is open 10:30am – 2pm (but get there early!).