16 Aug Buddha’s Vegetarian Restaurant | 666 Dundas St W
Buddha’s Vegetarian is a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant with limited seating, serving Hong Kong-style diner food. If you’re looking for cheap, quick, and filling Chinese vegan food in Kensington Market, Buddha’s Vegetarian Restaurant is the place to go. While their food isn’t the healthiest, the portions are more than worth your dollar.
As expected of your typical cha chang teng (a Hong Kong-style diner), the dishes at Buddha’s are more on the oily and salty spectrum of foods. But because the dishes are cooked fresh when ordered, you can request to have your dishes cooked with less oil, less salt, and no MSG (monosodium glutamate).
The Mock Salty Fish and Soya Chicken Fried Rice ($8.95) is the healthiest and most delicious dish that I ordered at Buddha’s. The dish is made with fried white rice, green peas, carrots, vegan soy chicken, and vegan salty “fish”.
The Chinese fried rice, also known as “chao fan” is a simple dish of carbs that can satisfy any vegan. Portion-wise, the fried rice was filling enough for two people with an insatiable hunger.
The General Tao’s chicken ($9.95) are deep-fried vegan chicken balls – a classic Western-Chinese dish that Buddha’s Vegetarian does well. The orange sauce has a citrus tang that complements the fried dough-like chicken. If you aren’t averted by deep fried or doughy foods, this is the dish for you.
The Stir Fried Green Beans with Soya Chops ($9.95) was made of green string beans, red chili peppers, and salted soy mock meat, then coated in a Chinese black bean sauce. The string beans were fresh and crisp, but the dish in its entirety was way too salty, spicy, and oily for my liking.
The saltiness came from the fermented black bean sauce – made by fermenting and salting black soybeans. As for the heat of the dish, it is cooked with chili peppers, so avoid this dish if you are sensitive to spice. The portions of this dish could feed anyone with a large appetite.
The Kung Pao Veggie Shrimp ($10.95) is a vegan shrimp and veggie stir fry. The assorted bell peppers, lotus root, wood ear mushrooms, snow peas, and eggplant were fully cooked, yet still fresh with a nice bite to it.
The vegan shrimp is made with konjac and other natural ingredients, making the texture of the “shrimp” similar to actual shrimp. The taste wasn’t exactly like shrimp, as it was missing the fishiness and seafood-taste of shrimp, but it tasted great nonetheless.
A lot of times vegan mock meats are lacking in a component that makes it taste like the “real thing” (which actually is reassuring for a lot of us vegans), but it still tastes good in a category of its own!
As for everything else on the menu, all the dishes at Buddha’s are vegan except for one dish: the Veggie Fish on Iron Plate. The “fish” is vegetarian due to the added whey powder – something that the owner says is on the manufacturer’s end of the cooking process as they order their mock meats.
Click here to see their full menu.