Eating Vegetarian in Chinatown, NYC: Buddha Bodai Restaurant


Buddha Bodai, located at 5 Mott Street in Chinatown, Manhattan, is known for serving Kosher vegetarian Chinese cuisine. I was introduced to this restaurant a few years ago and it remains a great place for vegetarian food and dimsum. In addition to the many vegetable and tofu-based dishes, the restaurant also offers remakes of common Chinese dishes using ingredients like tofu, soy, gluten, mushroom and seaweed in place of the usual meat selections. The plates are made to resemble the meat versions as close as possible in looks, texture, and taste. Don’t expect it to taste exactly like chicken, pork, or beef, but you might find it ways ahead of the supermarket frozen veggie burgers.


Dim sum is available daily from open until about 3:30pm. Make your selections off the paper menu and they’ll bring it out to your table when it’s ready. There are a few gluten-free dim sum options available too. We ordered the Steamed Dumplings, Sticky Rice wrapped in Bamboo Leaves, Steamed Taro Dumplings, and the Bean Curd Roll with Vegetarian Chicken (shown clockwise above).

The Sticky Rice wrapped in Bamboo Leaves is filled with a layer of sticky rice and seasoned mock meat in the center.

The Steamed Dumplings comes with 6 pieces, each filled with diced vegetables and tofu.

They offer a special lunch menu weekdays from 11:00am to 4:00pm. For $6.95, your selected entree comes with a choice of wonton soup, hot & sour soup, spring roll, or vegetable tofu soup and a side of white or brown rice. From the lunch menu, we ordered the Sweet and Sour Vegetarian Chicken and the Bean Curd with Organic Mushroom and Basil.

Sweet and Sour Vegetarian Chicken

Bean Curd with Organic Mushroom and Basil

Buddha Bodai Vegetarian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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