36054 Niles Blvd.
Fremont, CA 94536
What makes a dining experience great can be different for different people. For me it is not just about the food, but it can be many things. I have been to many church bazaars and many Buddhist Temples, but this one stands out for me so far.
Unlike many bazaars, which feels more like people doing business than volunteering, this place is very different. It made me feel like I am actually on a street with many food stalls. The use of the Tokens gave me more comfort in spending money there, because it was meaningless to haggle with the vendor. Many of the volunteers and attendees were very jovial and welcoming, even though no real money was really being exchanged.
If you are using price as meter, I am sure you can find cheaper food somewhere else. American Buddhist Cultural Society in Fremont probably can be cheaper , since donations are not monitored and many attendees can refill as many or as much times as they want, until the food runs out. The people in ABCS are very friendly as well, but they do mainly speak Chinese (Mandarin) and is pretty serious about etiquette and decor. The banquet is also held only on Sundays, as well, but it starts at around 12PM till about 2PM. Although it does not seem to be required, many do attend the service, which starts at 10AM, but it is in Mandarin only. They serve a vegetarian fair (non-strict because they had cake which probably contains eggs), compared with Buddhanusorn, which serves shrimp, chicken, and pork.
You probably can get better quality (in my opinion) Thai food at The Original Krung Thai Restaurant in San Jose, because the curries are much thicker and food more spiced up. Quality is a very subjective trait. However, I can say objectively, that the ingredients are very fresh and are handled with the utmost care. I felt that the volunteers were cooking for their own family members, which is not how many restaurants are ran. A good example of this is how they ran the Pad Thai station, because they refused to cook as many orders as possible at once, and only cooked one order at a time. I also found the Thai Iced Tea really good, because I found the spice to be not as overwhelming as the ones in the restaurants.
This is definitely a good place to stop for a visit, if you are looking for a unique dining experience. The food is authentic and the environment is unique. The people are welcoming and easy going, so you do not have to worry about being converted if you do not want to. It is almost like traveling to a small piece of Thailand without the price of airfare.
Here is how my list of places to get Thai food:
1. The Original Krung Thai Restaurant (in San Jose)
2. Wat Buddhanusorn Temple (in Fremont)
3. Tuk Tuk Thai Cafe (in Berkeley cost a little more than Thai Basil, but better atmosphere)
4. Chiang Lai Thai (in Berkeley simular to Thai Basil but hidden)
5. Thai Basil (in Berkeley in the Asian Ghetto, too crowded)
What is your opinion?