Wat Tampa Food Fair

Like an idealized Thai village a few hundred yards from the Crosstown Expressway, Wat Mongkolratanaram Buddhist temple is an oasis of calm on the banks of the Tampa Canal. Calm, that is, until the bustle of activity that signals the weekly Sunday food fair. Stands serving noodles and rice and soups and salads pop up along the water. Each dish is simple and satisfying and represents more culinary variety than that found at your neighborhood Thai joint, all for the paltry price of a couple of bucks per bowl. And your few dollars go to a good cause. All of the labor and ingredients are donated, so every dollar goes to the 25-year-old Buddhist community that calls the Wat home.