comScore

Metro's first Thai Buddhist sect serves traditional Thai favorites made by the community

Wat Promwachirayan

Wat Promwachirayan

The Twin Cities boasts some stellar Thai restaurants—Khun Nai Thai, On’s Kitchen, and Bangkok Thai Deli, to name a few—that offer dishes ranging from fragrant green curry and spicy stir fried pad see ew, to more out-of-the-box fusion fare like Khun Nai Thai Pad Thai burger.

Now, at Wat Promwachirayan in Saint Louis Park, Thai cuisine enthusiasts in the Twin Cities metro area can enjoy home-cooked treats prepared by local Thai community members. The temple’s weekly Sunday market—on ‘til the 30th of September—is open to all members of the public, whether you identify as Buddhist or not. Replete with fresh, flavorful favorites like egg rolls, papaya salad, chicken and roast pork satay, and sweetened sticky rice with mango, Wat Thai’s Sunday market offers unpretentious Thai food set against the elegant backdrop of the recently renovated temple.

Every Sunday through September!

Every Sunday through September! Wat Promwachirayan

And what’s more: Proceeds from the market are largely poured back into maintaining the Buddhist temple and funding its various neighborhood-oriented events.

Wat Promwachirayan—also known as the Wat Thai of Minnesota—was founded back in 2003 and was the first of three Thai Buddhist sects in and around the metro area, co-founder Sutape Ple-Plakon told the Strib last year. Until 2017, Wat Thai operated out of a rambler in the Elk River woods. When Dee Noree, owner of Minneapolis’ Amazing Thailand restaurant, was elected president of Wat Thai in 2016, he bought the former Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Saint Louis Park’s Birchwood neighborhood in order to relocate Wat Thai.

In just a few months, with the support of the temple’s monks and volunteers from the surrounding community, the space was made anew: electricity and plumbing repaired, broken windows replaced, graffiti covered. As a large golden Buddha and other smaller Buddhas were arranged in the main meditation space, Wat Thai prepared to welcome patrons both old and new. The temple found its home.

With the temple in full swing following its grand opening this year, members of Wat Thai hope it will be not just a place for Buddhist meditation, but also a vibrant and dynamic home for Thai culture, including Thai dance, music, language—and, of course, food.

As the Sunday market churns out delicious Thai cuisine at friendly prices and with even friendlier, welcoming faces all around, Wat Thai is sure to become a major center for Thai spiritual practices and culture in the Twin Cities and beyond.

Wat Promwachirayan
2544 Highway 100 S., Saint Louis Park
612-605-7979; watthaimn.us
Sunday market from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. through September 30, free admission and parking