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The Taste of Thailand at Wat Thai Buddhist Temple

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Okay guys, I want you to listen very closely: whatever you're doing today, cancel it. If you can't, cancel what you're doing next weekend. Then, by hook or by crook, by car or by train or by bus or by broom, I want you to - stay with me here, this is going to get difficult - I want you to go deep, deep into the Valley. Follow Coldwater Canyon almost to where it ends, all the way to Roscoe Boulevard. What will you find? Nothing less than culinary enlightenment.

Well, okay, okay: you'll also find the candy-colored towers of the Wat Thai Buddhist Temple, in the middle of a small Thai enclave in the very farthest reaches of North Hollywood. The temple sponsors a food festival every weekend during the summer, but word has it they might be closing after next weekend - so go now, and go quickly! It's just about the closest you'll get to tasting real Thai street food without booking a ticket to Bangkok.

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Exchange your dollars at the central stand for a handful of colored tokens that you can use to purchase all manner of amazing, delicious, cheap Thai treats: bite into a warm chicken curry dumpling ($1/ea), which is spiked with coconut milk and begging to be washed down with fresh coconut or longanberry juice. Maybe kao niao ma muang - sticky rice and ripe mango - sound like a good breakfast treat. Or you can feast on a myriad of meat and veggie satays; or, better yet, about twenty different noodle bowls and soups ($3/bowl), filled with fresh herbs, vegetables, steaming broth, and the meats: chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, fish cake, pork blood, duck - oh the list of edible animals goes on and on and on! At every shaded table are entire families of Thais slurping away at a little bowlful of home.