After travelling in Vietnam recently and eating in LOTS of Buddhist vegetarian restaurants, I'd now say with some confidence that the food at Bo De Trai is pretty true to that culinary tradition. Like a lot of Vietnamese veggie food, the dishes come sparsely seasoned and you add extra spice at the table.
I enjoyed at Saturday lunch with family here a couple if weeks ago. Like other reviewers here, I appreciated the new paint job. The bright green, pink, and red brings out the plants (some real, some fake) in the window and the colourful, glossy Buddha figurines inside. Between the 4 of us, we shared a serve of rice paper rolls with veggies to start. The veggies in their rice paper rolls are stir fried and I missed the fresh, fragrant greens but the peanut dipping sauce is creamy and delicious. We also ordered the stir fried mixed veggies which included a few tofu chunks, and bean curd with lemongrass which rivalled any we ate in Vietnam. The ginger chicken dish was probably my favourite - succulent and yet crispy, served with a little fried rice that might have been flavoured with coconut and a refreshing soup (or are you supposed to pour this over your rice?). Serving sizes are small but they're served with plenty of fluffy white rice so we left satisfied.
Last weekend I happened to be back in Footscray for an event do I popped in again for lunch and went for the ever popular wonton soup. I think this is hands down the best dish on the menu for only $9. The broth is light and peppery, full of coriander leaves and stems for extra flavour, a few dried mushrooms add a deep earthy flavour, a few chunks of tidy for protein and the starring wontons - deep fried crisp and filled with mostly grated root veggies, they soak up the tasty broth. Served with a fresh lemon wedge and sliced chilli, I dumped in the whole lot and was sweating by the end.