If you grew up in Asia, you know that dim sum is serious business. Dim sum is basically the Chinese version of brunch, and for many families, a sacred weekend ritual. Traditional dim sum is far from vegan-friendly (eek, chicken feet!), but thanks to places like Buddha Bodai, you can get your vegan, kosher dim sum on.
This review is about the Buddha Bodai at 5 Mott St. There is another unaffiliated Buddha Bodai at 77 Mulberry St, but in my opinion, the food at the Mott St location is better. (To avoid confusion, someone needs to change their name!) Everything we ordered was $3 to $5 each. Six dishes plus dessert was plenty for two very hungry people. Some of their dishes contain egg, so look out for that on the menu if you want vegan only dishes.
As a kid, my go to dim sum dish was turnip cake. I guess I never grew up because this was still the first thing I ordered. I was never a fan of the fatty Chinese sausage in turnip cake, so this vegan version is basically my childhood dream come true. Real tasty with the dipping sauce, but a little more pan frying for a crisper exterior would be nice.
The mock meat ribs in black bean sauce was one of John’s picks. The ribs were juicy and tender with the right amount of chewiness. You can’t go wrong with these.
Steamed BBQ pork buns are another must order item when you’re doing dim sum, but I always found the pork to be too fatty. Are you picking up on a pattern here? Buddha Bodai’s veganized pork buns are light, fluffy, and filled with mock pork. There’s plenty of BBQ sauce in there too.
Buddha Bodai’s shark fin dumplings are filled with vegan imitation shark fin (bean noodles, I think) and veggies, nicely packaged up in a thin, yellow wrapper. Each dumpling is pretty big. Juicy, not mushy, but they’re a little bland so you dip ‘me in some soy sauce.
Typically, bean curd rolls are filled with chicken or pork in addition to veggies. Here, the steamed rolls are filled with an assortment of vegetables, think veggie dumpling filling. Overall, it feels pretty meaty, but the filling was somewhat mushy. Good texture from the yuba sheets though.
I always get sticky rice when I have dim sum, and I like there’s a fried option here instead of the usual bamboo leaf wrapped version. Looks like a pudding of some sort. Tasty, not too sticky, and I enjoyed the mock meat in there.
Coconut pudding is always a good finale to dim sum and good for sharing. Light and refreshing with some sago pearls in there for texture.
I want all of it… :D
I would have loved to order more, but this was plenty for two! ;)
Amazing how they’ve managed to find substitute for everything…except for the chicken feet, but who will miss that? :):) I’ve never been a big fan of dim sum, and I used to think that everything tasted the same, but recently, I’ve started to appreciate it and I’m currently looking for a good place to get my next dim sum fix in Dubai:)
Hope you find a good spot in Dubai! Meanwhile, I’m on a quest to find good vegan dim sum in Portland. Hopefully it’ll be as good as Buddha Bodai.
Looking so delish!!! When I was in Hong Kong a few months back, we had dim sum almost every morning! I’m a huge fan of turnip cake too and I know this sounds a bit ugh, but my mom makes the best turnip cake I’ve ever tasted (so far) hahaha! Have a great week :) xo Vivian
Dim sum in Hong Kong is the real deal! There’s nothing like it. Hahah, I’m sure it’s really delicious… homemade is always a good way to go. :) That’s something I gotta learn how to make!
Vegan dim sum, amazing!! Your photos made me so hungry right now o_O
Thanks so much! I usually need to have a snack while writing my posts. :P
that coconut pudding looks divine… vegan options there are SO legit like i can’t even believe it!
Maybe I should ship some to you sometime? ;)
Argh, I want! I went on this whole dim sum kick where I could not get enough and now you’ve just reignited that fire!! hehe
Hahah, dim sum addiction! Dim sum is always on my to eat list whenever I visit family in Singapore. Oh yummy!
I had lots of dim sum when I lived in South East Asia and I loved it! You’re lucky you can get it well there. In Spain, forget it. In Barcelona I found a hipser place that does it pretty well, but read: hipster. Apart from that, I have to cook myself which I do at least once a year. I have to admit I’ve never done a completely vege dim sum… ;)
Haha, hipster dim sum! You would think that Spain would jump on board the dim sum train since it’s basically Chinese brunch tapas. Hope it happens soon!