Journal article Open Access
This essay explores Thai Buddhist food practices in relation to community building
in the United States. Drawing from interviews, participant observation, and online research, I
examine two interconnected issues. First, how temple food practices—offering alms to monks
and operating newly invented temple food courts—sustain temples spiritually and financially.
Second, how temple food, which is consistently integrated into various events and rituals,
enables Thai Americans and a diverse assortment of other participants to connect and work
together. This inquiry sheds light on the meanings invested in temple food, and the religious
and socio-economic importance of food for Theravada Buddhist community building.