Buddha Bodai

Manhattan, New York City

4 / 8 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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Buddha Bodai is a great vegetarian place right in the heart of Chinatown. I enjoyed my lunch last week, and I'd give it a five star rating if the service wasn't so lousy. (I should mention that the staff is friendly, just not very good at what they do.)

Due to the awkward service, we weren't entirely sure how to order. We got a piece of paper with a list of menu items and were asked to check off what we wanted. Most of the menu items weren't on the list... At the server's recommendation we checked off one appetizer. Then we asked for a couple of lunch specials.

The General Tso's mock chicken was good. I don't expect much from this dish except good texture and a healthy ratio of vegetables to protein. This dish was great on both counts. The Veg. Chicken with Chinese Green Veg. in Black Pepper Sauce (yep, that's what they called it) was outstanding. The mock chicken was well textured, the vegetables were cooked just right, and the sauce was well-seasoned - not too sugary or starchy with a healthy dose of black pepper. The one dim sum dish we had was the Pan Fried Turnip Cake. While overly starchy, it had a great flavor and came with a delicious soy ginger dipping sauce.

In retrospect, I think the best way to enjoy Buddha Bodai would be to order several small dishes and share instead of having a lunch special or main dish.

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


Wheelchair Accessible


$$ - average


  • MasterCard Visa


  • Dim Sum


  • Kosher


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10am - 10pm

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