Wat Thai (Thai Food at a Thai Buddhist Temple)

On weekends, the LA area Thai population gathers here to pray, socialize, and to eat!
It is the heart and soul of the community. It is very festive and fun. To me, coming here alone and as a single guy, it is quite charming. Lots of families, happily eating and socializing. Over there is a table of “Uncles”, and over there a bunch of children running around playing. I see Grandmas and Grandpas. There is live music in which I enjoyed. You share a table with strangers. This adorable little girl was sitting across from me when her stickers sheet blew away from the wind, I ran and retrieved them for her, and she placed her hands together and said thank you in English and Thai with a slight bow of her head. I melted. And I was smitten by the food.

It is crowded here. But first you wanna take a quick stroll to see what interests you. Head to the booth that says “Tokens”. You exchange your money for tokens, a portion of the sales goes back to the temple.

This place caught my eye for the hoi thawt, mussel crepe. It appears to be manned by Father, Mother, and Son. With Father out front and Mom/Son working the woks. They do have the classic noodle dishes: pad thai, pad kee mao, pad see ew.

$5. Fat briny mussels, egg, batter, sprouts, with a sweet sauce. You will wanna do some drizzles of that on top. Very good.

Next, I hear the sounds of “pok pok”…

Yeah I gotta have some of that…
Sour, fresh, crunchy, warmth from spice, sweet, and a little salty. This was good. No funk.
Every time I eat papaya salad this gangsta ass song plays in my head:

Grass Jelly Drank that is so Dank. I love Grass Jelly! It has a cooling effect (as they say) on the body, with a little sweetness added, perfect. I had 2 cups of these.

Issan Sausage. A hint of sour notes with the pork.

Coconut Cakes! These are my favorite. One of two places to get them fresh and hot, here at Wat Thai and at Mae Tings at LAX-C, and that bakery across from Ruen Pair? LOL.

Mmm Fried Bananas!!

The temple:

Lots of shrines. The main shrine has a magnificent golden Buddha. Observe the custom to take off your shoes when entering. There were a few monks walking around the food area too.

I really enjoyed my experience here and it is worth the drive to come and experience the Thai community.


Also spotted a stand doing Hainan Chicken Rice, and Pork Leg Rice

And another doing noodle soups like boat noodle, and yen tai fo.

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Thanks, @JeetKuneBao! Is this every weekend? It looks like something that I could take my parents to for a fun outing.
How much cash do you suggest coming prepared with?

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As I understand it, it is every weekend.

Those desserts could feed multiple people. Smaller app size stuff is usually $2 and bigger stuff $5.

I say a group of 3, should bring about $40 total. Enjoy.


how do i not know about this.

It’s not in Thai Town, that’s why you don’t know, Nimrod

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Thanks for the post, Jeet. I recall they used to have this every weekend until they closed it about 7,8 years ago. It was very popular and I think the neighbors were not too happy about it. I’m glad to see that they are back. Time for a trek to N. Hollywood this weekend…

Parking is hectic. I used the Red Line to North Hollywood than Lyft over.

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Jumping off of this thread, does Wat Thai have vegan food? Like, something you could make a meal out of, not just coconut cakes and fried bananas…

Language may be a barrier but if you can tell them no fish sauce/egg/meat/oyster sauce/ stinky fermented pastes

Then yes it can be vegan.

And if they are fine that the wok/mortar-pestle might have a little meat or fish sauce remanants

Then yes.

Obviously the flavor won’t be the same

Thanks, that’s about what I expected. Said vegan I’d like to get lunch with at the temple once ordered gai lan with oyster sauce so… we’ll make it work

Some cheap brands of “oyster” sauce might be vegan.

And I guess if they’re okay with “might be” vegan I can live with that, too.

I think I was mostly annoyed because I picked one of the few dim sum places where it was relatively easy to get vegan items and then they placed an order for something with an animal in its name.


My bad for never making it before the oncoming onslaught of LA Times readers


I made it here on Sunday, blazing heat and all (which did not deter the crowds, dammit!) We parked about a block away in the residential area adjacent to the temple.

Sorry I cannot remember the vendor names, but the best eats were the following:

(1) Shrimp pad Thai :heart_eyes: - perfectly cooked with a beautiful nutty flavor and a touch of sweetness. I did get a bit of wok hei coming through as well. Definitely order this first as we waited about 35 minutes after ordering before they called our number.

(2) Moo ping :heart_eyes: - juicy, tender, flavorful porky goodness with just the right amount of sweetness.

(3) Esan sausage :heart_eyes: - love how they make little individual bites, eaten with a bite of Thai chili, cabbage and a slice of ginger makes this a great bite. This is at the same skewer stall as the moo ping.

(4) Young coconut water - avoid dehydration, lifesaver! And delicious! This is sold at the dessert stall on the left side of the pad Thai spot.

(5) Coconut and mango ice cream with sticky rice :heart_eyes::heart_eyes: - amazing! The coconut ice cream has such great flavor and texture and coupled with the slightly tart mango ice cream is such a great combo. But even better, the fragrant sticky rice adds another dimension of flavor. Such a great way to end the meal on this scorching day, and my intestinal tract likely appreciated the relief from the Thai chiles.


Looks good! This is still one of the best cultural experiences in Los Angeles.


The Wat Thai Food Court is alive and well! We went a few weekends ago for some comfort food (Thai is ours). Always a good energy here and it remains kind of a perfect level of busy… lines weren’t too long and there’s enough seating turnover to get a spot to eat.

Kanom Krok ขนมครก (Coconut Rice Cake) w/ Green Onion
First time ordering this. I want to try again next time as these seemed a little under-done but flavor was amazing. I say that based on other pics of these where there’s a little more char on the outside. Ours were kind of pudding-y in the middle - maybe that’s the idea?

Papaya Salad
from Nuch Thai Papaya Salad stand. Incredibly fresh & bright, very spicy, very fish sauce-y. This is the best we’ve had at this food court after trying various stands’ papaya salads over the past year or so. They make it fresh each time and mash it all before serving. We even found half a crab in ours.

oh hey there crab

Stir Fried Basil Chicken & Prik King Chicken
from Song Pee Nong stand. This one was a miss unfortunately, had much better phat kaphrao & phat phrik khing on an earlier visit. This had a bit of “warmed-over” flavor / or had been kept at temp for a while unfortunately. the phat kaphrao was missing basil, yet still tasted basil in it, interestingly.

Longan Drink
from the drink stand all the way in the SE corner. Much needed refreshment to deal with the papaya salad heat building up over time. so cold and sweet, like a fruity syrup to reset your taste buds for the next bite. Recommend letting the ice melt a little to dilute & last longer.

Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango
from the Thai Dessert stand in the NE corner. Incredible as always, but this specific batch was one of the best mango sticky rice we’ve had in recent memory. I’m sure the quality varies seasonally, but the texture was melt-in-your-mouth. Loved the pandan color in the rice as well.

So many desserts, so little time!

source of the remarkable Papaya Salad. Get it medium or higher on the spice level - it is hot in the best way.


I’m about as far from an expert as possible, but every time I’ve had khanom khrok they have been varying levels of pudding-y in the middle. If you liked these, you should try Mae Ting’s in the LAX-C parking lot, too.