Buddha Bodai

Manhattan, New York City

4.0 / 7 votes

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Authentic Chinese vegetarian cuisine

This Chinatown restaurant is described by some as the "most authentic Chinese vegetarian restaurant" in the United States. Rather than importing their mock meats like most restaurants, Buddha Bodai makes them all from scratch.

Added by Gregory on Jul 9 06 (last updated Jul 16 06)

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Most Recent Reviews


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For four of the last six Sundays, we have been having dinner at Buddha Bodai, an amazing kosher Chinese vegetarian restaurant in Flushing Queens. And to say that we are thrilled with the dishes we've eaten there would be putting it mildly! The labels of "kosher" or "vegetarian" don't begin to describe their wonderfully creative dishes which are so unique that they go far beyond these simple labels. We started out with dishes such as Sesame Beef, which of course was meatless, in a delicious sauce and served on a bed of broccoli--it was wonderful and we continue to order. The staff there encouraged us to try other dishes such as Mixed Vegetables in a Taro Bowl--which had such a multiplicity of flavors that it was almost overwhelming. This evening, we tried their Mango (mock) Chicken dish, served in a lightly cooked, split mango with peppers and mushrooms. The tastes and presentation of this dish left us almost giddy!

Buddha Bodai has a unique atmosphere and attracts an interestingly diverse clientele, from Orthodox Jews to Pakistani families to Buddhist monks and Chinese social groups. It is never very noisy, and we have become very fond of the wait staff, as well as the chef, who likes to come out of the kitchen and converse with us and other customers. If you come out to Queens to visit, I'll happily take you there!

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I've been here three times and have always enjoyed my meal. They are heavy on fake meat, but their preparation style is much different than the million Pan-Asian sort of restaurants in NYC. I always get the vegan fried shrimp for an appetizer, and if the fried shrimp weren't good enough, they come on top of steamed and deliciously seasoned broccoli, sprinkled with candied walnuts. Outstanding. The only thing that would make this better is if it came with cocktail sauce instead of plain vegan mayo.

I've had a number of the entrees, all of which were good, but I mostly enjoy the General Tso's Chicken, which is what the waiters often recommend. Most recently, I had the vegan steak lunch special, which was really good, and had a nice balance of faux meat and veggies, but I don't think the texture was as good as other menu items.

Buddha Bodai, while known for great food, is not known for good service, which is often slow and can be inattentive. When I last went with my boyfriend and his brother (who are Mexican), the service was exceptionally slow, and we had to ask for water twice, and then ask for take-out containers, and then ask for the bill. I can't help but wonder if the staff is even mildly racist (nearly all restaurant patrons are Chinese or white), and I was offended when the waiter said "adios" to us when we were done. Perhaps it was an honest effort to communicate with them, as they don't speak much English, but the entire situation just made me uneasy.

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Neighborhood

Chinatown

Directions

By train:
Take the M, 6 train stop at City Hall
Take the F train stop at Eastbroadway

Non-Smoking

Wheelchair Accessible

Prices

$$ - average

Payment

  • MasterCard Visa

Cuisines

  • Dim Sum

Features

  • Kosher

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Hours

10am - 10pm

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