Buddha Bodai

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 32 reviews )
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212-566-8388
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5 Mott St, New York City, New York, USA, 10013

Established since 2004 a kosher Chinese vegetarian restaurant; not affiliated with the newcomer Buddha Bodai on Mulberry St. Offers vegan dim sum and a wide range of faux meat dishes. Reported uses egg in a few dishes (Oct 2015). Kitchen stops 9:30pm. Open Mon-Sun 10:00am-10:00pm.

Categories: Vegan-friendly, Ovo, Chinese, Take-out, Asian, Cantonese, Kosher

32 Reviews

First Review by A.Z.P.

Best vegan Chinese food in Chinatown - Edit

Got here by accident after getting caught up in the rain crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. 90% of what we tried was so good!! All "chicken" products were delicious! Rice, wonton soup, and spring rolls were very good as well. However, I would avoid the steamed "meat" buns, though. Apart from that, great service and super cheap prices. Highly recommended, if you're looking for lunch in Lower Manhattan.

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Delicious!!! - Edit

If you follow my reviews, I'm not a gratuitous reviewer. I absolutely loved this restaurant. Good prices and the food was delicious. Note that I'm also not a big fan of Chinese food. We had the vegan bbq (highly recommend!!), spicy laksa soup (amazing) and Buddha delight. I only wish I could go with a huge group to sample everything. Generous portions, left satisfied and with leftovers to boot. Definitely going again.

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The best asian food - Edit

Throughout my New York travel i came three times to eat at Buddha Bodai. The Food tastes amazing, the fake meat just like real meat and the prices are cheap.

Pros: cheap, huge selection

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Tasty and inexpensive - Edit

We came here for a dim sum lunch and it didn't disappoint. Being originally from Hong Kong, I grew up on the stuff and know how they should look/taste. The food here is pretty decent and authentic, although not as good as you can get in HK. A few things were slightly off the mark in terms of flavors and seasoning, but still I'll take it. We paid $20+ for six dishes and left more than full.

Pros: decent food

Cons: cheap

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lunch was good!! - Edit

Had general tsos chicken for lunch and it came with tea and hot and sour soup for $7.50. Overall great experience.

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JACKPOT! Vegetarian, Chinese, Dim Sum, Kosher and numerous gluten free options! - Edit

The restaurant was clean, the food was delicious, the service was friendly. We ordered almost all the gluten free options and everything was so tasty!

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How much do I love this place? - Edit

Best vegan dim sum in the world. Is that a fair assessment? The bbq meat is alone worth the trip.

Pros: Food, Food, Food

Cons: Service, Bathrooms, The other customers stick their noses in your food

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One of the Best Asian Veg Places in NYC - Edit

We ate here for the first time in a while, and it was as amazing we we remember it. The atmosphere is calm, and it seems very clean, both the restaurant and the food. We ordered the Steamed Vegetable Buns (wonderful), Ribs with black bean sauce (also great), the BBQ Veg. Meat (more on that in a moment), the Steamed Veg Meal Ball (not our favorite, bot good) and the veg. meat bun very good). The BBQ veg meat is out of this world. You know it must be good, because they sell it in a cooler at the front of the restaurant. We loved it so much we bought two containers and took it home. In fact, we'll be back, just for that dish alone.

They have a full non-dim sum menu with tons of really excellent Chinese dishes. Will update review again once I/we visit again and try more dishes.

Pros: Lots of variety, Clean food and atmosphere, Plenty of Seating

Cons: Maybe a little more detail about specific ingredie

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Chinese and Asian food - Edit

Not sure why I haven't reviewed this place before as I have dined here many times over many years. It is the biggest variety of vegan Chinese food in Chinatown, and for that, it rocks!

It is Kosher, so be aware of what you bring with you. To earn that certification means a lot to the community, so respect it.

They have dim sum here for lunch, vegan versions of classics like bao, dumplings and rice-based deliciousness. I love the sticky rice and shui mai. There are a million dishes with fake meat, as I am pretty sure Buddhists were the originators of fake meat. The beef is always good with anything like Americanized sautéed dishes. There are a good number of noodle choices, salads and sides.

Pan fried noodles rock. Sticky rice, radish cake, shui mai, rice rolls, etc. the fake seafood anything is bad. The vegetables anything is awesome like sautéed watercress, baby bok choy, spinach, Chinese broccoli, pea shoots, etc. Also, anything w taro or cedar sauce is delicious delicious delicious!!

I would give them 5 cows, but I am unhappy with their choice to no longer serve dim sum when you order it... Only at lunch. Grrr!!!

I do love this place though- it is the best choice for vegan dining in Chinatown!

Pros: Dim sum, Chinese greens, Cedar sauce

Cons: Dim sum only at lunch, Seafood is bad texture, Needs more noodle options

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fabulous vegan meal! - Edit

I tried this restaurant on the recommendation of an employee of the Chinese American Museum. My family and I were not disappointed. The food was awesome and plentiful. The service staff was friendly, albeit service is not their strength. I have added this restaurant to my favorites and will definitely be back when I return to NYC.

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Good Food! - Edit

We did our best to go to several different restaurants during our recent visit to NYC (as there are so many delicious options), but we found ourselves back here a couple of times, as we really enjoy the food! We were not extremely impressed with the service, as some of the servers were dismissive and a bit temperamental. The individual that appeared to be the manager was extremely friendly, but our server left our table to help other customers (and did not return) when we asked too many questions about the menu. We tried a few of the starters, but they seemed to be a bit hit or miss. The Spring Rolls were extremely greasy, the ribs with black bean sauce tasted nothing like a vegan rib, but rather like small balls of tough soy protein in a fairly tasteless sauce. We also did not enjoy the seaweed crab meat roll, which again, tasted nothing like vegan crab meat. On a positive note, we really enjoyed the Cruller Roll, which was a fried bean curd, wrapped in a sticky rice layer similar to mochi (but not sweet). We also really loved the Barbeque meat fried rice, which they described as being very similar to Pork Fried rice (although I've never had Pork fried rice, so I can't verify that). Also tried to Barbeque meat with cabbage, but we found the Barbeque meat fried rice much more enjoyable. Overall, pretty good food!

Pros: Good Food, Reasonable Prices; Great Lunch Specials

Cons: Poor Services

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Great! - Edit

I have been coming here for years. It's pretty close to the courthouses in downtown Manhattan, further away from the busiest areas of Chinatown. They have a great lunch menu. The lamb lunch special is my favorite. It comes with soup (wonton or hot and sour), and an entree and choice of white or brown rice. This place also has a great dim sum menu between 12-4p (I believe). It's more authentic Chinese food, not the Americanized crap. I recommend any of the rice rolls, the fried eggplant with veg meat, the fake roast pork buns, the bbq veg meat appetizer, the shumai, the lettuce song appetizer, the taro "seafood" bowl, etc etc etc!

The food is very heavy and sometimes pretty fried.

The only place that I think has better fake roast pork buns is the Vegetarian Dim Sum House, which is dim sum all day everyday, located on Pell Street a block or so away from Buddha Bodai. Unlike Vegetariann Dim Sum House, though, Buddha Bodai is not cash only.

Buddha Bodai has a sister restaurant in Flushing, Queens with a very similar menu.

Pros: Great food!, Moderately priced!, Dim sum/lunch special!

Cons: Takes credit card

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Good Lunch Deals - Edit

I like to go to Buddha Bodai for lunch since you can eat very well for a few dollars.

I recommend :
-wonton and hot n sour soup
-General Tso Veg Chicken

I don't recommend :
Veg Chicken in Black Pepper Sauce

Pros: Good Value

Cons: Atmosphere could be better, Staff not really friendly

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amazing vegan dim sum / Chinese food - Edit

Best in the city. Try the veg pork buns, Chinese broccoli, general tsos, "beechi" mushroom rice roll, hong king noodles...it's all great! Much cheaper during the week for lunch. Gets crowded on weekends after noon

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Excellent and Inexpensive - Edit

I eat here often when I am in NYC. Kosher and vegan are a great combination. The lunch menu fed us both for about $15! Sweet & Sour soup was excellent and the General Tzou was excellent. Dinners are also great. I have yet to be disappointed. All of my companions have been equally pleased.

Pros: Tasty, Inexpensive, Unique

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Great Menu - Edit

I go here when I can. Some of the dishes are really very delicious. Try the lamb stew, General Tso, or the BBQ rice. Never had anything bad here. It's a large place, sometimes very crowded which tells you something, doesn't it? Prices are good. And it's kosher too!
Updated from previous review on Friday June 28, 2013

Pros: Huge menu, Large portions, Kosher

Cons: A little far from the subway

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ugh - Edit

Had high hopes due to reviews and was in southern Chinatown so decided to try it. If you like grease and rude service then this is your place if not walk the 5 blocks or so north and go to Wild Ginger and eat well in a nice space with friendly service. This was pretty awful
Updated from previous review on Wednesday March 20, 2013

Pros: umm...

Cons: greasy, rude

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Good Food. Mostly vegan - Edit

My wife and I tried this place last night. It's a typical decor for a Chinatown restaurant, nothing fancy. They have a large menu with pictures and non vegan items are clearly marked. The service was good, the food was good, and the prices seemed fair.

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My favorite Chinese vegetarian restaurant - Edit

This is my favorite Chinese vegetarian restaurant. I go there frequently. The food is always great. The space is comfortable. There are so many choices, it is hard to choose what to order! Have never been disappointed.

Pros: excellent food, friendly staff

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Dim Yum! - Edit

Went for lunch, only 6.95 for a delicious General Tso mock chicken. It was sweet and spicy! My friend had veggie dim sum that was yum! I can't wait to go back!

Pros: low price, excellent food, good service

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best veg-chinese place in ny! - Edit

i love this place! the faux-meats are really good. the pineapple fried rice comes in a pineapple and is absolutely delicious! the cheese cake is insanely good. the people are nice. it's a veggie oasis in china town!

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Great restaurant - Edit

We love Buddha Bodai. IT is my dad's favorite restaurant to eat vegan. So twice a year, we go to NYC to visit him and take him there almost every day that we are there! We get only the vegan items on the lunch menu. For dad, my husband and I we order 4-5 lunch dishes and usually end up eating it all! Sometimes a dish will make it to his place! The waiters all know us and for dad's birthday, they give him dessert with a candle. WE love the food. Sometimes we go to the one in Queens where the dragon lady is! The manager there who we call the dragon lady, is a b...but the food is great!

Pros: great food, friendly staff except 1 who looks sad

Cons: wish it were wherever we go

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Yummy :) - Edit

There's a wide variety of foods that taste great. It's more pricey than your normal casual chinese restaurants but the portions are generous. while There are done healthy options, a lot of this is greasy veg-friendly fast food. If you're trying to county your calories, order carefully.

Pros: Delicious, Generous portions, Lot's of variety

Cons: Can be greasy

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so so - Edit

Food is good but service is BAD. They're rude, bring appetizers after entrees, and lied about ingredients. MUCH better to go to Happy Buddha about 1-2 miles away. But if you want to risk the downsides here, the food is good.

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quite tasty! - Edit

went here with a big group so we ordered a bunch of different things. i ordered the orange "chicken" which was delicious. a few other things i tried were very good as well. there was only 1 or 2 dishes that were not too good.

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My default Chinese restaurant - Edit

Buddha Bodai has become my default Chinese restaurant; with the unfortunate closing of Vegetarian's Paradise a couple of blocks away, I had to scramble to find another Chinese in Chinatown I liked as well. Buddha Bodai, with its first location in Flushing, opened this location around the time Vegetarian's Paradise closed.

This place serves huge portions of fresh, healthy food. Not everything on the menu is vegan; it's noted on the menu which dishes contain egg. One very important point is that they make all their mock meats on premises and are kosher; they display the Kashruth certification on the wall.

They also display a certificate in which the owner, Kent Zhang, is named an official "Shark Finatic." He's proud of this; one of the specialties of the house is vegan shark fin soup. At a time in which many species of shark are becoming endangered precisely because they've been overfished for their fins, more places should serve vegan shark fin soup.

I've been eating my way down the menu, and have enjoyed most of the dishes. One of my particular favorites is the sauteed watercress with "foo yee" (fermented bean curd) sauce. I also like the taro dishes, such as the taro fish--which is taro molded into a fish shape. They also offer desserts, including vegan cheesecake and ice cream. After the meal, you get a plate of orange slices and a fortune cookie; the cookie, of course, isn't vegan, but I always read my fortune anyway.

Pros: excellent quality, fresh

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Best food, (almost) worst service - Edit

Bottom line, this is the BEST veg chinese food you can get. I have been to China 3 times, this is the only place that comes close to authentic. The chef is a genious. However, the service is pretty bad. I have been going here for over 10 years and they're still not very nice. Some of the staff are okay but some are nasty. But the food is SO good. Dim sum for lunch is cheap and delicious.

Pros: Taste

Cons: Service

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