Tampa's Hidden Thai Temple: Now I Know 'Wat' I've Been Missing

By: Dalia Colon


Back in November, I manned VISIT FLORIDA's booth at the Tampa Bay Home Show. Time and time again, passersby would take one look at the VISIT FLORIDA sign and declare, "I'm already in Florida! I've lived here my whole life!"

"Well," I'd say, stretching out my arm to offer a copy of the Florida Insider Magazine, "maybe you'll discover something new."

In a state so chock-full of attractions, even longtime Floridians can come across the occasional novelty. I learned this firsthand last weekend, when my friends John and Katie took Hubby and me to Wat Mongkolratanaram of Florida – or "Wat" for short, mercifully.

Tucked away on an inconspicuous street along the Palm River, Wat is a working Buddhist temple, monks and all. Sundays from around 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the temple hosts an outdoor food market serving some of Hillsborough County's most authentic – and inexpensive – Thai food, cafeteria-style.

John and Katie, who moved from South Carolina to Tampa just last year, learned of Wat on a food blog. Now, John dishes on this delicious "secret" at jocwrites.wordpress.com. (Key tips: Arrive early and bring cash!)

Wat is at 5306 Palm River Road in Tampa. For directions and other vitals, check out WatTempleInEnglish.com.

What's your favorite hidden-gem eatery? Join the conversation on my Facebook page.

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