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San Bruno Thai Temple - better than ever

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I noticed during my August visit to the Thai temple that there were a number of new dishes to try, so I helped to organize a visit there last Sunday despite the cold rainy weather. We were lucky that we finished lunch as rainfall grew heavy. There was no crowd, and we had plenty of time to chat with the cooks.

The standard fried chicken, larb, green papaya salad, and kanom krok are all great as always. All four of these dishes are the best examples that I have found in the Bay Area. I am still craving the kanom krok I had in Vientiane, Laos in August, as they will not be easily forgotten. The larb is available with innards, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I also can't say enough about the fried chicken, which is seasoned but not battered.

The addition of stir fried radish cake, served with bean sprouts, soy dipping sauce, and chili sauce was certainly welcome. The radish cake itself was on the bland side, compared to the radish cake you might order at dim sum, but the dish as a whole was good and reminded me of the radish cake preparations I tried in Malaysia.

Stewed pork leg is another relatively new dish. It was delicious and as good as any other version I've tried. However, I missed the chili-lime sauce, which I think adds another dimension to the dish.

I'd like to try innard soup, which was another new dish. Also, they now offer pad thai, which we didn't try. I was relieved it wasn't made with ketchup.

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  1. here's a link to the location ......
    http://www.chow.com/restaurants/29421...
    Thanks for the update -

    1. This was my first visit to the Temple; definitely will not be the last! Going on a rainy day appeared to be an excellent strategy: the weather made the dishes with heat taste even better, and kept the crowds reasonable. It is a small space.

      We asked for the papaya salad to be spicy, and they didn't kid around. when I ordered the stewed pork leg the very nice cook asked me if I wanted some of the hoof, since 'that's the best part: gelatin and fattty skin'. Well, of course, when you put it that way....it was delicious. We also enjoyed watching the cooks make the kanom krok; two different batters were used (one for the outside, one for the filling) which apparently is a special step that some places take shortcuts on, but no shortcuts here.

      We also shared a curry dish, which I enjoyed, although the fried chicken, kanom krok and that pork leg were the standouts for me. Well actually, loved the radish cake too: thought it was a bit bland it had an addictive quality.

      Five of us had plenty of food for a very nice lunch, with a bit of leftovers, for about $10 a person.

      1 Reply
      1. re: susancinsf

        Per usual, the pork larb was my favorite dish. The slices of liver were perfectly cooked, still moist and not dried out or too strong tasting and the intestines make that dish. Just the right level of chili heat for me too.

        I'll mention that for our $10pp we also bought a Thai ice tea per person. It's made with half & half here rather than sweetened condensed milk.

      2. Here are links to the food photos.

        The food court at the San Bruno Thai wat has grown quite a bit since my last visit a couple years ago. Near the entrance is a stand selling produce and some traditional sausage, etc.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        We were excited to see the stir-fry station for making radish cakes with eggs, as well as this auxiliary steam table set up with four different types of curry.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        The lady making the som tum (green papaya salad) to order was just adorable in her pink outfit and color-coordinate apron and cap on this blustery day.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        Spongy fried tofu for the pad thai and the cauldron of pork leg stew.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        Our first round of brunch dishes included double-fried chicken (two leg quarters per order) served with sticky rice and sweet chili sauce and the fabulous pork larb in the center made with slices of liver and chitlins of the lord.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        Wonderful pork leg stew served over fragrant jasmine rice with pickled mustard greens, a seasoned egg, and cilantro garnish. Susan scored the highly desirable hoof pieces.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        Pan-fried radish cakes with eggs, sweet thick soy sauce, bean sprouts, and pickled greens. Dipping sauce of garlic soy with some fresh jalapeno chili and sriracha. $5
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        Ground fresh shrimp with peanuts in a coconut curry sauce over thin rice noodle skeins and garnished with cabbage. I asked the lady server to dress it for me as she would for herself, so she added some dried red chilis on the side.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...
        Fabulous som tum (green papaya salad) made with blue crab smashed to smithereens. Good flavor but too spicy for me to eat much of.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        The wonderful women manning the pad thai station and kanom krok station.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        An order of freshly made kanom krok, $4. Done the right way with two different batters, the finishing batter rich with coconut cream.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        Chewy pandan rice flour balls filled with toasted coconut and rolled in dried coconut shreds, $3.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        Wat Buddhapradeep, San Bruno’s Thai Temple
        http://www.chow.com/restaurants/29421...
        The food court at the San Bruno Thai wat has grown quite a bit since my last visit a couple years ago. Near the entrance is a stand selling produce and some traditional sausage, etc.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        We were excited to see the stir-fry station for making radish cakes with eggs, as well as this auxiliary steam table set up with four different types of curry.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        The lady making the som tum (green papaya salad) to order was just adorable in her pink outfit and color-coordinate apron and cap on this blustery day.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        Spongy fried tofu for the pad thai and the cauldron of pork leg stew.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        Our first round of brunch dishes included double-fried chicken (two leg quarters per order) served with sticky rice and sweet chili sauce and the fabulous pork larb in the center made with slices of liver and chitlins of the lord.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        Wonderful pork leg stew served over fragrant jasmine rice with pickled mustard greens, a seasoned egg, and cilantro garnish. Susan scored the highly desirable hoof pieces.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        Pan-fried radish cakes with eggs, sweet thick soy sauce, bean sprouts, and pickled greens. Dipping sauce of garlic soy with some fresh jalapeno chili and sriracha. $5
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        Ground fresh shrimp with peanuts in a coconut curry sauce over thin rice noodle skeins and garnished with cabbage. I asked the lady server to dress it for me as she would for herself, so she added some dried red chilis on the side.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...
        Fabulous som tum (green papaya salad) made with blue crab smashed to smithereens. Good flavor but too spicy for me to eat much of.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        The wonderful women manning the pad thai station and kanom krok station.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        An order of freshly made kanom krok, $4. Done the right way with two different batters, the finishing batter rich with coconut cream.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        Chewy pandan rice flour balls filled with toasted coconut and rolled in dried coconut shreds, $3.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

        Wat Buddhapradeep, San Bruno’s Thai Temple
        http://www.chow.com/restaurants/29421...

        -----
        Wat Buddhapradeep
        310 Poplar Ave, San Bruno, CA

        4 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Are they open for lunch and dinner? Every day? How late?

          1. re: Thomas Nash

            Sunday only with a few exceptions for special feast days or Thai holidays. Starts at around 11am but sometimes takes until about 11:30am to get fully set up. Be there early for the best items, things start shutting down around 1:00 or 1:30pm or if the food runs out. Bring cash to make a donation, and you'll receive plastic chips that you can exchange for food. Consider this a post-worship service church luncheon and do observe the signs for areas where you need to remove your shoes.

            ETA: Here's the link for slideshow view of the photos.
            http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

          2. re: Melanie Wong

            Great pictures, thank you for taking and sharing them! The picture of the "spongy fried tofu" is actually the innard soup that we didn't try.

            1. re: felice

              Oops, thanks, so those are not floating squares of tofu?

              I'm so happy to see the growth and that the quality is still so high. Was also glad to see that the pan-fried chive dumplings seem to have been discontinued, as that was one of the things that I thought was quite weak in the repetoire. When we first started going there, we'd order one of everything for a group our size and that would be it. Now there's more variety, we didn't get anything from the steam table, there were more curries to try (fish curry, pork & pig blood, chicken & bamboo), steamed seafood in the whole coconut shells, fried bananas, and the boat noodles (beef pho-like) served out of a real wooden boat. I wonder if the steam table dishes are cooked by the volunteers. If it hadn't been raining so hard at the end of our meal, I would have bought more items to take home, especially from the stand near the entrance that had the condiment pastes and sour sausage. The order of chicken that I bought to go hit the spot for my dinner and some the next day.

              I'm also recalling that I used to think that the prices were a wee bit high for eating outdoors. They've only increased a bit and now I find the food here a bargain to eat so well for so little.