Berkeley’s Thai Temple: the only place, besides Vegas, where you can you find large masses of people eating buffet-style and changing their money into chips in the same place. For those of you who frequent the Asian Ghetto (or is it the Durant Food Court?), Thai House, or Tuk Tuk Thai to get your fix of the flavors of Thailand, consider your life incomplete. Thai brunch is perhaps one of the oddest, most aggressive, and certainly one of the most memorable dining experiences you will ever have.

Tucked within the residential district of South Berkeley between MLK Jr. Way and Otis St., Wat Mongkolratanaram’s Sunday brunch is the equivalent of a cheap Asian restaurant transplanted into the cement backyard of a temple, which also offers Thai language and dance lessons to interested diners. The food is served cafeteria-style (we enviously wonder if their cafeterias in Thailand are really like this) and visitors exchange tokens to receive almost any Thai dish imaginable.

Anyway, we’ve told you about this place before. What can we say? We love our Thai food. So although being neighbors with a Thai buffet is something close to heaven for us, not all residents are as enthused about the smell of Thai food wafting into their windows in the wee hours of Sunday mornings when they’re trying to sleep. Many neighbors dislike the noise, smells, congestion and trash that Thai brunch brings, and some think the temple is just operating a restaurant under the guise of serving food to their followers.

“It is a fundraiser as well as part of a religious and cultural practice,” said Sukum Saingarm, a temple board member. “They bring food to the temple as a way of merry-making. You get good with God by feeding the monks and the leftovers get fed to the people.” Hmm…they always seem to have a lot of leftovers.

Although Wat Mongkolratanaram serves brunch every Sunday, a permit issued in 1993 limits the temple to only three food-serving events annually, and in June the temple was cited for continuously violating this permit. Yesterday, the temple went to the Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board meeting to request a use permit modification which will allow the temple to continue its weekly tradition. We hope they were successful, because the thought of no more Sunday Thai brunch is scarier than Sarah Palin not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is. And for those of you who still haven’t gone, get over your separation anxiety from Thai Basil and go while you still can.

Image Source: Kenn Christ under Creative Commons
Local Temple Brunch Draws Crowds, Ire of Neighborhood [Daily Cal]
Berkeley Thai Temple to Ask ZAB to Allow Year-Round Sunday Brunch [Berkeley Daily Planet]

Juju said:
Sep 26, 2008 at 8:42 pm

“Which one? The Bush Doctrine is a journalistic term used to describe some foreign policy principles of United States president George W. Bush, enunciated in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Scholars identify seven different “Bush Doctrines,” including the notion that states that harbor terrorists should be treated no differently than terrorists themselves, the willingness to use a “coalition of the willing” if the United Nations does not address threats, the doctrine of preemptive war, and the president’s second-term “freedom agenda”.” Gibson asked this question just to try to intimidate her.

adfadsf said:
Sep 26, 2008 at 8:57 pm

regardless of whether she was unsure of what definition gibson was using, if she did indeed know about the doctrine and its various aspects, she would’ve displayed her knowledge by responding with something such as “as I understand the bush doctrine, in how blah blah blah, my thoughts are that blah blah blah blah”. If she doesn’t know it, she doesn’t know it. It is what it is.

Save Sundays at the Thai Temple! » Blog Archive » News Coverage & Video Links said:
Dec 4, 2008 at 3:47 pm

[...] 09-26-2008 The Daly Clog [...]

Brian Larson said:
Dec 8, 2008 at 1:06 pm

Hey Juju–

Quit trying to defend Palin. Shes an idiot!

I can see Russia from my home but I can see them SLAUGHTERING a turkey 5′ behind my head!!!


Save Sundays at the Berkeley Thai Temple! » Blog Archive » News Coverage & Video Links said:
Dec 9, 2008 at 1:28 pm

[...] 09-26-2008 The Daly Clog [...]

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Thanks, very interesting. I was born in Thailand in 1960s but my parents fled and came here in England. To be honest, I didnt really care much about my Thai heritage until my mum died last month, now I’ve been trying to find out as much as I can. Seemed like food was as good a place as any to start from! Anyway, I found a thai food recipe site here that other readers might be interested in .

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