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Buddha Bodai, Mott Street, Chinatown

Buddha Bodai Vegan Dim Sum, Chinatown

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.

Vegan Fried Turnip Cake, Buddha Bodai

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.

Vegan Ribs with Black Bean Sauce, Buddha Bodai

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.

Vegan meat buns, Buddha Bodai

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.

Vegan Shark Fin Dumplings, Buddha Bodai

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.

Vegan Bean Curd Rolls, Buddha Bodai

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.

Vegan fried sticky rice, Buddha Bodai

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.

Vegan Coconut Pudding, Buddha Bodai

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    PinaySkattebasse
    July 13, 2016 at 10:49 am

    I want all of it… :D

    • Reply
      wazwu
      July 19, 2016 at 5:47 pm

      I would have loved to order more, but this was plenty for two! ;)

  • Reply
    Mitzie Mee
    July 14, 2016 at 5:10 am

    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:)

    • Reply
      wazwu
      July 19, 2016 at 5:49 pm

      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.

  • Reply
    Vivian
    July 14, 2016 at 7:00 am

    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

    http://www.twoward.com

    • Reply
      wazwu
      July 19, 2016 at 5:51 pm

      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!

  • Reply
    sileas
    July 15, 2016 at 2:01 am

    Vegan dim sum, amazing!! Your photos made me so hungry right now o_O

    • Reply
      wazwu
      July 19, 2016 at 5:51 pm

      Thanks so much! I usually need to have a snack while writing my posts. :P

  • Reply
    annie lee
    July 16, 2016 at 5:06 am

    that coconut pudding looks divine… vegan options there are SO legit like i can’t even believe it!

    • Reply
      wazwu
      July 19, 2016 at 5:52 pm

      Maybe I should ship some to you sometime? ;)

  • Reply
    jewels
    July 18, 2016 at 2:54 am

    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

    • Reply
      wazwu
      July 19, 2016 at 5:53 pm

      Hahah, dim sum addiction! Dim sum is always on my to eat list whenever I visit family in Singapore. Oh yummy!

  • Reply
    Sofia
    July 18, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    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… ;)

    • Reply
      wazwu
      July 19, 2016 at 5:55 pm

      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!

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