Buddha’s Delight US Map & Phone & Address

5 Beach St. Boston; (617) 451-2395 One of the real finds in Chinatown, Buddha’s Delight features Vegetarian Specialties from the Orient.

Here that seems to translate into Vietnamese tofu, but read on: This is in no way a limited dining experience. The big secret of Buddha’s Delight is the fact that someone has found a way to give tofu some taste; and, more importantly, texture. Try the barbecued tofu and vermicelli ($4.50), and you will think you’re eating yes, chewing on sliced meat from a pork chop. It comes atop a huge bed of white vermicelli noodles, with a crunchy and delicious spring roll (also vegetarian).

The other substance found throughout the menu is gluten, a wheat product that is used to simulate seafood and chicken. Not all the substitutions are perfect imposters; roast pork comes close, while chicken slices are a bit less successful. But the point is that they are tasty, and you’ll never feel as if you’re munching on some sponge from the kitchen.

Among appetizers, there are the terrific spring rolls (two for $2.75) mentioned above; Vietnamese gluten and bean cakes ($3.50), which look a bit like deep-fried muffins, with cooked peanuts on top; and the unusual Vietnamese pizza ($4), which actually looks more like a crispy omelette filled with pork tofu and vegetables. Noodle soups, most about $4, come in huge, deep bowls try the steamed noodle with fried tofu and coconut milk.

For dessert, try one of the two-dozen or so blended fruit milk shakes, each about $2. Pineapple milk with condensed milk shake and Pickled lemon with soda are just a couple of the many exotic choices. The restaurant itself is clean and comfortable, and the atmosphere was festive, with a packed house early on a Saturday evening. No surprise; a recent Boston magazine reader’s poll named it Best Vegetarian Restaurant. This is, after all, a place in which two people can eat like kings for a bill that may still come in under $20. Even if only one is a vegetarian. Open 11 A.M. to 10 P.M. seven days.

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