Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Buddha Bodai

We tried Buddha Bodai for the first time yesterday. Buddha Bodai is a mostly-vegan, all-vegetarian Chinese restaurant located at 5 Mott st in Chinatown, Manhattan.

Wonton Soup
This soup was very light and mellow. The wontons themselves seemed to be filled solely with spinach, though Evelyn said she detected some mushroom in there. The broth was hearty but not too strong or salty. This was a very simple soup but I enjoyed it. It actually had me expecting a light, simple meal, but it turned out that the soup was very different from the rich, heavy dishes that would follow. -Jim

BBQ Veg Meat
This was a whopping plate of wheat gluten in a sweet barbeque sauce. The strips were soft and chewy, without being gummy. For gluten enthusiasts this was a cross between the super chewy fare at House of Vegetarian, and the compact chew of seitan at Lan Café. This had a really good balance of texture and flavor. Just don't let your eyes be bigger than your stomach! -Ev
Yeah this was good but there was so much food! I'd say this appetizer would be appropriate for at least four people. Any less than that and you'll probably need to take some home for leftovers. The good news is it makes a great snack when re-heated! -Jim

Pan Fried Noodles w/ Beef and Chicken in Black Bean Sauce
This was on the “House Special” menu so I don’t know if they offer it all the time, but if they do, I would recommend it. The base of this dish was a heaping pile of crunchy fried noodles. On top of those noodles were sauteed peppers, bean sprouts, mock chicken and mock beef. The mock chicken was tasty and had good texture The beef had a softer texture and a much more savory taste. I think I preferred the chicken, but the beef was OK. All these ingredients were united by a delicious black bean sauce that was salty and a little bit sweet. Overall, I really enjoyed this dish, and then I enjoyed it again for lunch today, and I’ll enjoy it yet again for lunch tomorrow. In other words, this was a LOT of food. And I think it only cost $10, so that’s a pretty good value! -Jim

Mixed Vegetables in Taro Bowl
When you’ve had dim sum in the past, have you ever wished that you could form the dim sum into a crispy bowl and fill it with mock meat and veggies? Well, if you were wacky enough to wish such a thing your wish has come true! Like a delicious Asian cousin of the taco salad, this meal was a culinary party in a hearty, edible bowl. Where to start? There were snow peas, mushrooms, carrots, pine nuts, mock ham, mock shrimp, mock fish, mock chicken, all crammed in a delicious crunchy-on-the-outside/soft-on-the-inside taro bowl. Surrounding said bowl was steamed broccoli in a light and salty ginger sauce. The standouts in this dish were the broccoli, the bowl and the mock chicken, which was thick, savory, and delightfully peppery. This was incredibly filling and could easily be shared by 2 or 3 people. -Ev

Vegan Cheesecake
If you had told me that I could still have cheesecake back when I first went vegan, I would have thought you were lying. But here I am reviewing yet another vegan cheesecake. And this one, like all the rest I’ve had, was pretty good. It was a bit creamier and tangier than others, which actually made it more reminiscent of real cheesecake. I have a feeling that the syrup was just watered-down strawberry preserves, which turned me off just a little. But overall I think this was a good dessert. Not the best vegan cheesecake I’ve ever had, but still good. -Jim
Well I thought it was great! In fact, I think Pukk has competition for best cheesecake. I liked the tang, and it had a great crust. -Ev

The Bottom Line
I’m happy that we finally got to try Buddha Bodai. The menu was a little intimidating with so many dishes. (Oof. I’m writing this 3 ½ hours after dinner and I’m still ridiculously full.) There was a ton of food and it was all really good. Our doggie bag weighed as much as a neopolitan mastiff. I think next time I’ll try to pick out some lighter fare, but regardless, this meal was great! -Ev
Everything we got (with the exception of the soup) was super-rich, super-filling and came in super-large portion sizes. Is that true of everything at Buddha Bodai? It’s hard to say because, as Ev mentioned, there are tons of choices on the menu and we only tried a few things. I would say our first experience there was a positive one. -Jim


Blogger pinkberry said...

Yay! A review :)

I can't believe you guys went to a restaurant I was made to go to.I've always been weary of Chinese veg restaurants cause of MSG content. Yes the menu is extensive! The portions huge!

I remembered we had the mushroom porridge and orange chicken with broccoli. That meat platter you guys ordered too.

When we were eating there I was like...okay maybe I judged places like this too carelessly cause I did enjoy the meal. Very much so.

Until half an hour later. I was so thirsty and my throat felt weird and I knew it had to be the cheap oil and MSG they used. Needless to say I won't be going back for another visit. I'll take Pukk any day tho.

Have a great summer you two!

1:55 AM, July 25, 2007

Blogger VeggieGirl said...

glad to see you guys reviewing again!! wow, those ARE huge portions, haha

10:04 PM, July 25, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you think of the vegan cheesecake @ Hangawi? That is the best cheesecake I've ever had--I ate it & promptly forgot where I had it & spent a year ordering vegan cheesecake whenever I saw it trying to find The One, & being cruelly disappointed.

I've never had Pukk's cheesecake, tho'. Maybe I ought to try it.

8:01 PM, October 27, 2007

Anonymous kootronics said...

this place is amazing. seriously. the best vegan dim sum i've experienced.

11:16 AM, November 13, 2007


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