More eating adventures from the Hummus Whisperer…
I told you I’m gluten sensitive! Did you or one of your family members ever say that? By now we all know gluten is a more common irritant/allergen than most people think. Some people’s intestines think gluten is evil and cause Montezuma’s revenge or worse. This is awful to know because if you live or visit America finding gluten-free food can be depressing while you sit there watch others eat cakes and cookies. Well, not so fast I say. You can still enjoy yourself worry free in places like Buddha Bodai in Chinatown.
Buddha Bodai is a kosher, vegetarian Chinese restaurant on Mott Street. Come here if you are kosher, vegetarian, gluten-free, or all of the above. If you are neither, you may still like it. This is the only place in Chinatown where you may share a table with a(nother) Chinese grandma, Hasidic Jew, Buddhist monk or a European tourist (An avid EWZ reader). This is the kind of place you slowly fall in love with. Unfortunately, the menu is heavy on the faux meat dishes. I personally never go for the mock meat because its just does not taste the same as the real thing, but I do enjoy veggie dishes here. I ordered $10 worth of various dumplings. There are some nice looking lunch special dishes, not all are gluten-free but still the largest GF selection in Chinatown. There are no carts going down the aisle as you would expect in other places in the neighborhood. There’s a sign upfront that this is a kosher place so that means no outside food or drink. So don’t bring in the pork rinds.
First up, two kind mushroom Congee. Then bamboo pith dumplings and steamed watercress dumplings.
This was my first time ever eating Congee. While the name and texture (similar to oatmeal) are not appealing, the taste is simply delicious. Mushrooms, some veggies and ginger – delicious! A Congee is simply a rice porridge with a different name in every country in Asia. Many Asians, non-Asians, and now hummus whisperers consume Congee during the day. Bamboo pith dumplings – more awesomeness.
5 Mott St
Chronicles of the Hummus Whisperer…
Believe it or not, sometimes I eat without my foodie-call Ziggy. While its never the same as eating with my dear companion or with my dear wife the Hummus Punisher, I’ll resume coverage of my independent food experiences with this column.
With winter just around the corner, wannabe foodies and pepperazzis (obsessive food photo snappers) indulge in tomato soup at hale & hearty soups. But I started the week with a $6.50 lunch special veggie Ramen at Ajisen Noodle on Mott Street and it’s just what the doctor ordered. It originated in Kumamoto of Kyushu, Japan in 1968. Their ramen is chewy, straight and thin coupled with the secret recipe of a tonkotsu soup base (white soup base from which bones, meat, vegetables and other fine ingredients are cooked for many hours producing a milky white broth).
Did I mention that I usually hate soups? this post is a great way to offend my mother and mother-in-law as they have been given countless head shakes when offering soup.
I decided to pass on the typical American-Chinese soups that you can find just about anywhere in America. Xi’an famous foods (cash only) is certainly not a typical Chinese establishment, with one other location in flushing Queens. Western Chinese cuisine of the ancient city of Xi’an is served here. The spicy cumin lamb soups is a fusion of Chinese and middle eastern cuisines at its finest. The soup had a pleasant aroma from the lamb-bone broth with one delicious extra long flat hand-pulled noodle. Noodle quality is superb for $8. This father and son run place seats about 20 ppl so get here early as it packs up fast with a long line outside. Looking around at the plates at the two communal tables, this place is giving Mission Chinese a run for its money in terms of quality and price. This is definitely my favorite of the group, more to come on this place.
For a hip, minimalist atmosphere, stop by Bassanova (cash only). With the original location in Japan, this newcomer opened in July 2013 in a convenient spot around the corner from canal street. In addition to other platters, they serve only three Ramen soups in ceramic bowls imported from the original’s hometown of Setagaya. I enjoyed the Tondaku green curry ramen while sitting at the steamy bar with a boom box playing hip-hop. Despite a disappointingly steep dollar to Ramen ratio for any ecconoisseur, the soup displayed colorful ingredients such as moist grilled Berkshire pork, mixed greens, shrimp, okra, and red bell pepper, and a secret base with a good hint of green curry. I attacked this soup with brutal force. Who knew Ramen soup would taste so good while listening to “gangsta’s paradise” and enjoying the “Prado” wallet you just bought on Canal street for your girlfriend.