Buddha Bodai One Kosher Vegetarian Restaurant 5 Mott St., Chinatown, (212) 566-8388. Daily 10:00am-9:30pm; $. In addition to being kosher and vegetarian, this restaurant uses no MSG and is very vegan. It is a small restaurant with a large following, and so usually there is a wait. I ventured here on Christmas Day, so wait we did.
Finally seated, we ordered a head-spinning array of dim sum dishes. Everything we selected was delicious, and nothing was left over. Our hands-down favorite was the barbecue pork, which tasted so good and so meaty in texture that I was sure something hard I crunched down on was a bone. Of course it wasn’t, but I still wonder WHAT was it? Our tab for four adults and a child came to just over $50; it was so reasonable that we didn’t bother double-checking it, which we usually do.
|vegetarian barbecue pork|
|fried taro custard|
|sticky rice in bamboo leaves|
|fried greed peppers stuffed with veggie meat|
|chow fun noodles|
And the clientele is almost as wonderful as the food. A nearby couple who were finished and leaving stopped by our table and offered our group a neck massage with one of those roller massagers. It was a surprising, fun, and satisfying encounter with “real” New Yorkers.
In fact, everyone in the restaurant rolled into a festive mood once they were fed. Outside, when leaving, we were approached by another local character who was with a group waiting in line down the street. He wanted to know what we thought of our dim sum brunch and we were happy to tell him. He walked off considering jumping ship and bringing his group to Buddha Bodai.
Dim sum photo gallery.
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images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers