Buddha’s Belly, Santa Monica

buddha_belly_spinach

Spinach Dumplings

I was in Santa Monica for work recently and spent an evening walking along the beach and through the 3rd Street Promenade.  I ended up stopping in at the Buddha’s Belly, an Asian-Fusion joint.  Usually I try and avoid Fusion places (also I avoid any restaurant that use “Wok” in its name as a play on words), but it seemed like most places in this area were either chain restaurants or local places aimed at tourists.  However I was pleasantly surprised, the Spinach Dumplings at Buddha’s Belly turned out to be very good and are vegan.

The Dumplings:  There are Pork Gyoza, Spinach Dumplings, Veggie Dumplings, Shrimp Har Gow, Chicken Bao, Pork Shumai and Chicken Potstickers on the menu.  I tried the Gyoza and the Spinach Dumplings.

Spinach Dumplings – these steamed dumplings were surprisingly good, the spinach tasted fresh and crisp and was well seasoned.  The rice flour crystal wrappers were soft and supple and not at all gummy.  I don’t think these were frozen dumplings, I think these were made in-house.  These dumplings are also vegan, as are the Veggie dumplings.

buddha_belly_spinach_2Pork Gyoza – I think these dumplings were probably frozen, mass produced dumplings – the wrappers were pretty thick, dense and card board like.  They were also served a little undercooked, the bottom side of the Gyoza were not really fried to a golden crisp the way they should have been.

Pork Gyoza

Pork Gyoza

The Dipping Sauce:  the sauce that came with the Pork Gyoza was competent, but largely forgettable.   The sauce that came with the Spinach dumplings was a thick mix of Chinese mustard and slightly sweetened soy sauce.  The sauce was an excellent complement to the Spinach and gave a serious wasabi-mustard rush to the sinuses. This sauce also significantly helped out the Pork Gyoza.

Location:  Buddha’s Belly is on Broadway between the 3rd Street Promenade and the beach.

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This entry was posted in Chinese, Gyoza, pan-Asian, Steamed, Vegan, Vegetarian. Bookmark the permalink.

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