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veggie friendly Chinese and/or Korean in Flushing?

bennyt Nov 14, 2006 09:43 PM

We've never been to the "real" Chinatown and Koreatown in Flushing, and are going to make the trip this weekend (assuming that this can be done via public transportation). Does anyone have any recommendations for good veggie-friendly food (we also eat seafood)?

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  1. designerboy01 RE: bennyt Nov 15, 2006 04:48 AM

    Most Korean restaurants are veggie friendly. Skate fish with Cold Spicy Noodles. Monkfish with bean sprouts with pepper paste. For Chinese they usually have seafood especially Cantonese Restaurants. But if you really want good Vegetarian you should go to a Chinese Vegetarian restaurant. I'm not a vegetarian but I don't mind going for vegetarian chinese. I think there may be one on Main Street but its about a 10 minute walk South. Sorry forgot the name.

    2 Replies
    1. re: designerboy01
      hatless RE: designerboy01 Nov 15, 2006 12:45 PM

      I'm not a vegetarian either, but doesn't lots of "meatless" Korean food involve sauces and spice pastes made with dried fish and shellfish? There's crab in most restaurant kimchi, isn't there? Some years back, I went with a fairly strict vegetarian to Cho Dang Gol in Manhattan, which specializes in tofu and the staff said not a single dish was vegetarian. I don't know whether they've adapted since.

      Ditto Thai and Vietnamese. They don't call it fish sauce for nothing.

      1. re: hatless
        designerboy01 RE: hatless Nov 16, 2006 05:23 AM

        The post said seafood was OK!

    2. b
      bennyt RE: bennyt Nov 15, 2006 01:44 PM

      I don't need a strictly vegetarian place; I need a recommendation for a good Chinese or other Asian place that has good vegetable and fish dishes, in Flushing.

      2 Replies
      1. re: bennyt
        designerboy01 RE: bennyt Nov 16, 2006 05:29 AM

        Canton is very well known for seafood and veggies are always important to any chinese meal. Imperial Palace is pretty good for Cantonese. Its one of the restaurants that me and several others recommended up on CH.

        BrianS wrote a nice review:

        1. re: designerboy01
          Brian S RE: designerboy01 Nov 16, 2006 03:47 PM

          Thanks for liking my review. As you can see, all the food I ate there was seafood, no meat. Seafood has a place of honor in most Cantonese places; the better restaurants call themselves "seafood restaurants" in Chinese, to assure their patrons they are a quality place.

      2. PlomeekSoup RE: bennyt Nov 15, 2006 08:15 PM

        If you take the 7 train to Main Street, you're in the heart of Flushing and can easily walk up to Buddha Bodhai, which is all-vegetarian.


        2 Replies
        1. re: PlomeekSoup
          bennyt RE: PlomeekSoup Nov 15, 2006 09:38 PM

          Yeah, I've read very mixed reviews of Buddha Bodhai though. What are your thoughts?

          1. re: bennyt
            PlomeekSoup RE: bennyt Nov 19, 2006 02:23 PM

            I was there only once about two years ago and I wasn't impressed, but that's based on trying only one or two dishes. Perhaps it's the kind of place where you need to know what's good on the menu before you go? I might give it another try at some point.

            As for comparing it to places like VP2 or Dim Sum House, the few dishes I had didn't compare nearly as well to the good end of stunt meat available in vegetarian Asian cuisine.

        2. j
          JanetG RE: bennyt Nov 17, 2006 10:52 AM

          I prefer Happy Buddha http://www.happybuddha.com
          on 37th Avenue just W of Main Street, even more convenient to the 7 train and also LIRR Port Washington line, also all vegetarian, but with both there is wide variety in the food. Many dishes are fried, and many depend on "mock meat".
          This "about" profile of Flushing--which is worth a visit even if you don't chow down--might be of interest to you

          As a vegetarian, I try to stick to vegetarian restaurants especially in places where English isn't spoken because communication with staff may not be perfect, and I want to be sure my meal doesn't have an ingredient or stock which I choose not to eat.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JanetG
            bennyt RE: JanetG Nov 17, 2006 11:45 AM

            How would you compare Happy Buddha or Buddha Bodhai to places in Manhattan like Vegetarian's Paradise or Vegetarian Dim Sum?

          2. j
            JanetG RE: bennyt Nov 18, 2006 01:27 PM

            I haven't been to Vegetarian's Paradise on W. 4th St. since it reopened, but historically they were more mock-meat centered than either of the places you name (perhaps I should say "any", because there's also Buddha Bodai on Mott St. in Manhattan.) Vegetarian Dim Sum can't be compared to anything--the small dishes they make are duplicated nowhere.

            1. s
              surly RE: bennyt Nov 18, 2006 05:49 PM

              any of the korean soon doo boo (tofu stew) specialists in flushing would fit your criteria. book chang dong is probably the most popular place at the moment, with locations on northern blvd east of parsons blvd and another one on kissena. there are several other soon doo boo specialists, including met dol, but i can't comment on the quality as i haven't been there yet.

              3 Replies
              1. re: surly
                JanetG RE: surly Nov 18, 2006 07:32 PM

                Most soon doo boo includes seafood and meat of some kind in addition to the tofu.

                1. re: JanetG
                  surly RE: JanetG Nov 19, 2006 07:56 AM

                  actually, customers are generally given the option of what type of soon doo boo jjigae they'd like - w/meat, w/seafood, w/kimchi and pork, "vegetarian" (which usu. includes mushrooms), etc.

                  depending on the "type" of soon doo boo, the fillings can be cooked first and the tofu added later, meaning that it should be relatively easy for a restaurant to adhere to a customer's request for a vegetarian option of this dish. unlike a beef-stock-based broth such as gohm tang, the flavor in soon doo boo is derived from a mix of different, optional, and variable ingredients like seafood, beef, and chile powder. in other words, the amount of the aforementioned ingredients can be increased, decreased, or eliminated altogether, depending on the diner's preference.

                  1. re: surly
                    hatless RE: surly Nov 19, 2006 05:36 PM

                    Like I said earlier in this thread, when I went to Cho Dang Gol with a vegetarian some years ago -- and that's a tofu specialty place with twenty or so soon doo boo vartiations alone -- we were told that _not one dish on the menu_ was vegetarian. A plain tofu steak and a couple of the simpler veggie panchan like bean sprouts were pretty much it.

                    Bear in mind that dried fish and shellfish are extremely common seasonings that find their way into basic sauces and broths, and most relevant to soon doo boo, that crab is in lots of kimchi.

                    Sometimes a little ignorance can make life easier. I had lunch with a vegetarian Indian emigre who went to great pains to quiz pizzeria staff on whether there was any meat or fish in the tomato sauce... and once he was satisfied that the pizza would pass muster, ordered a caesar salad with it.

              2. b
                bennyt RE: bennyt Nov 28, 2006 04:31 PM

                We ended up at Happy Buddha. A couple of dishes, like the Sesame "Eel," offered a good change of pace from what I usually have at the VP restaurants, Zen Palate, Veggie Dim Sum. But all in all, I would have to say that the latter places are as good, and probably better. So I was a little disappointed. I think next time I head out to Flushing, I will just try veggie dishes at one of the well-regarded mainstream restaurants (e.g., Spicy and Tasty).

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