Wat Mongkolratanaram Review BunRabs Home Yummy Chow Home

Wat Mongkolratanaram
1911 Russell St.
Berkeley, CA

Surely head to the Temple

What kind of incensed diner doesn’t like a fiery food? Not me. When I want bazaar chow, I make a pilgrimage to the head of the line.

Wat Mongkolratanaram isn’t a name that rolls off your tongue, but the food they serve sure heats it up.

Before you eat, you buy your one dollar tokens. If you over-purchase, you can get a refund on the unused silver colored coins.

It’s an outdoor Buddhist picnic. Clean up after yourself at the communal tables after you visit the food stands that appeal to you.
It’s a good mix of people. Hippies, students, business types, kids and seniors all checking out the cool chow.

Self-serve. Buy your tokens, do a lap to see what appeals to you and queue in the appropriate lines. For the curries, there are separate lines for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Put the necessary number of tokens in the empty plastic tray on the counter when you order (so the food servers don’t have to touch these monetary vectors of disease as they handle the food)

Khanom Krog and Khanom Babin combo ($3.00):
The Khanom Krog are cooked in little cast iron molds, these little lens-shaped coconut milk and green onion enhanced sweetened batter are lacily browned on the rounded side and albino side up on the flat side, with the green from the onions peeking through.
The second half of this cocunutty finger food duo is the Khanom Babin which are slightly sweet, deep fried patties of taro root. Kind of like a Thai version of a churro/pancake hybrid.

Shrimp Spring Rolls ($4.00):
are filled with noodles, tofu, lettuce, onion, cucumber, cilantro, bean sprouts, mint, and a small slice of shrimp. The peanut dipping sauce adds the right amount of astringent, peanutty sweetness to complete the effect and for a buck a roll, you really can't go wrong.

Green Papaya Salad ($4.00):
is made to order. If you are into heat, order it straight, otherwise, let the server know you want yours mild, as ingredients are scooped into the mortar before they are combined. This is a good, crunchy and flavorful combo that includes carrot, cabbage and anemic tomato (but it doesn't come close to unseating the perfection achieved by the Bodega Bistro version.)

Whole fish ($7.00):
is my fave. These beauties are glazed in a thick, syrupy, hot, sweet, chili sauce that is just hot enough to straighten out your nose hairs, but not too hot to make you immerse your head in a pitcher of beer. The colorful slices of green and red peppers and delicious Thai basil demand that you also order a side of rice ($1.00) to sop up their flavors.


Two carrots out of four

This is a Sunday-only temple bazaar and not a restaurant. They close for major holidays (like Xmas) and they serve until they run out of food so come early to maximize your options.



Wat Mongkolratanaram Bathroom Rating

Bathroom one unisex located in the courtyard dining area. Clean and well stocked (especially considering the traffic.)

Entire contents copyright © 2006 by BunRabCo. All rights reserved.