Temple Shares Celebratory Fare

Columns Lite Bites

March 16, 2014

Story By: Yu Shing Ting | Photos by: Nathalie Walker

Wat Lao Sithammaram of Hawaii, a Laos buddhist temple in Waipahu, celebrates its newly renovated building with special events Friday, March 21 from 9 a.m. to midnight and Saturday, March 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Anyone is welcome to attend, receive blessings and enjoy many traditional Lao foods. The food, which is free and all-you-can-eat, is being prepared by members of the temple, including Thai Valley Cuisine chef and owner Carole Thirakoun.

Dishes include Laab Pork, Laab Chicken, Crispy Rice Salad, Red Curry with Chicken, Yellow Curry with Pork, Nam Muu, Pad Thai with Pork, Pad Thai with Chicken, Pad Thai with Tofu, Fried Chicken, Fried Pork Jerky, Fried Fish (Akule), Thai Sausage, Papaya Salad, Oriental Noodles and more. Drinks also will be provided, including bottled water and soda.

There also will be entertainment, including a traditional Lao dance show and hula performance. About 20 monks, including monks visiting from the Mainland, will be attending as well.

Wat Lao Sithammaram of Hawaii was originally located in Palolo for about seven years before moving to Kalihi in 1991 where it would be for the next two decades. Eventually, it outgrew its space and in 2011 moved to a bigger venue on more land in Waipahu.

Now, three years later, renovations are finally finished on the approximately 17,000-square-foot temple. The exterior is painted orange, the same color as the robes worn by the temple’s monks.

“Our former leader (and one of the two original monks at the temple) Bounkong Singsouvanh, it was his vision to build this temple,” notes the temple’s abbot (current monk leader) Inpeng Siphanthorn. “He helped to move us here.” According to Siphanthorn, there are more than 100 members of Wat Lao Sithammaram.

But, anyone is welcome, any time, any day.

Siphanthorn, who was born and raised in Laos, moved to Hawaii in 2005 and became a U.S. citizen last month. “Some members invited me to come and I liked it, so I stayed,” he says. “I like the weather, the people, and the ocean too.”

The March 21 and 22 events are free and open to the public, however, donations in any amount are accepted. Parking is available at neighboring Waipahu Intermediate School.

Wat Lao Sithammaram of Hawaii

94-127 Waikele Road
March 21, 2014, 9 a.m.-midnight
March 22, 2014, 8.30 a.m.-5 p.m.

Waipahu, HI 96797

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