Vegetarian food in Asia is a whole new level. There are a lot of reason to become a vegetarian but most of Asian people follow vegetarianism because of their religion: Buddhism, Hinduism, or even Christianity.
In most of Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines…vegetarian food is cooked in a different way. Instead of using and cooperating organic and healthy ingredients into the dishes, we Asian people prefer to have vegetarian food that is prepared as normal dishes. If you are still confused then you should keep reading this post for a better idea of Asian vegetarian food.
The restaurant where I want to take you all this time is Bồ Đề Tâm, a famous vegetarian restaurant in Hanoi that responds for many events like buffet, weddings, temple festivals…
Hidden in a very small street next to Ngọc Khánh Lake, this restaurant brings you the vision of ancient Vietnamese houses with the garden, the typical floor tiles, the religious wooden statue…
Bồ Đề Tâm is not only a restaurant but also an organic food store. It has a lot of different choices from brown rice to jasmine tea or even wine.
I was starving by that time I was done taking picture and asking about these weird organic stuffs that I have never seen before. We got so many food for only 3 people that day. This I can tell, is a typical Vietnamese restaurant with the table setting, the dinnerware sets.
The special thing about Bồ Đề Tâm is all about the names of the food. The soup I got is just the ordinary vegetables soup but they call it Tranquillity Soup. It was not really that special and it needed more seasoning for my taste. Surprisingly, my body got cool down from the heat because of the lightness and effects of the vegetables.
Combined by 12 delicious vegetables and and simply but amazing sauce, Twelve-Bond Interactions (Paticcasamuppda) Salad. It is a Buddhist ethical about 12 factors that people have to go through during their lifetime: Ignorance, Mental Formations, Consciousness, Mind and Matter, Six Senses, Contact, Feeling, Craving, Attachment, Becoming, Birth, Aging and Death. Just like the real 12 factors, this salad is made out of 12 vegetables such as: vegetarian sausage, cassava, carrot, green and read peeper, banana flower, purple cabbage, onion, cucumber, sprout, basil, and cilantro with roasted peanut and roasted sesame.
The waitress recommended us to try the Saute Tofu with Lemongrass and Chili. However, I was not impressed with this dish. The tofu was dry and I could barely taste the lemongrass in it. It was such a basic dish but at the same time, too mainstream and normal.
You probably wonder why did we eat fish at a vegetarian restaurant? But don’t worry, all the upcoming dishes are made out of vegetarian ingredients. We just love to call it “fish” or “meat” and then to cook those like normal food. This dish, Cod with Five Different Vegetables Sauce, was my favorite. It basically fried “fake” cod with tomato and dill sauce. It is definitely a home-made dish that reminds me of my family’s meal. If you have ever grew up in a Vietnamese house, you couldn’t miss out this delicious dish.
Poached Pork Belly with Coconut Milk, another tradition home-made Vietnamese dish. It was perfectly seasoning, the “meat” was tender but I was wondering for the whole time how can they fake the fat part of the “meat”?
With the fun decoration, Fried Spring Roll Lantern attracted our attention when the waitress brought it to the table with the fire inside the pineapple. Most of people know about Vietnamese cuisine must know about our famous spring roll. Just like Italian cuisine has pizza and pasta, American has mac and cheese and burger, Vietnamese has spring roll and phở. The exciting thing about fried spring roll that is made the right way, is the crunchy sound when you take a bite. And Bồ Đề Tâm‘s spring rolls had it, yummy from inside out.
Bồ Đề Tâm’s Rice that is cooked in lotus leaf is a must to go with the “fish” and “meat” we got. There is a big difference between just rice and rice wrapped in lotus leaf. It was so moist, rich and actually smelt great. I figured when you cook rice with the leaf wrapping around, all the goodness of the rice is not going away; in fact, it stays and makes a great addition flavor.
Grilled Eggplant with Peanuts was such a big failure. It said grilled on the menu but when it was brought to us, it was more like eggplant tempura with butter. Nobody enjoyed this dished, we could only eat one piece and already felt full. I hope they would fix this as soon as possible.
I have to admit that I’m a big fan of potato so whenever they offer any dish that has potato in it, I have to try. Grilled Potato Stuffed with Mushroom was what I got. Gladly we only ordered one for each. The portion was not that big but just like the eggplant above, we could only eat one piece. It tasted okay but not challenging enough.
Oh! I almost forgot about this heavenly drink, Corn Milk. It was sweet, fresh, and creamy.
It was a great meal overall. We did not feel to full and stuffed like we usually did with that amount of food, probably because it was vegetarian food. This meal changed my thoughts about vegetarian food. It turned out pretty awesome and not that boring like I thought. I definitely recommend you to have a vegetarian meal. Who has thought it were all that delicious and good looking.
Location: 6/10 Delivery: No
Service: 6/10 Take out: No
Food: 6/10 Price: $$$
Until next time, stay freaky.