The Wandering Buddha
2239 Saint Claude Ave
New Orleans, LA
The Wandering Buddha is located behind the Hi Ho bar, so walk around to the back of the bar and you’ll see three tables set up from 5 PM to midnight. My friend had heard about this new Korean vegan restaurant and since we’re both Korean (& raised in carnivorous families), we wanted to check this out. The server was very friendly and knowledgeable about Korean food (I was thoroughly impressed with his pronounciation).
The lettuce wraps had 2 lettuce wraps filled with rice, marinated tofu, zucchini, onions and almonds. And it was topped with a spicy pepper sauce (gochujang). This was a very refreshing dish (the crisp lettuce and crunchy almonds). I liked it a lot; the almonds added an extra crunch to it.
The fried dumplings are hand made (well not the skin, but the filling is). It is filled with tofu and glass noodles (jap chae). These were super hot when they came out; caution when biting into these things! I especially liked the dipping sauce with sesame seeds.
The scallion pancake is a crispy wheat and rice pancake with scallions prepared in the Chinese fashion (the scallions were cut into small circles versus the long strands that Koreans like). These were quite tasty (the batter) but different than what I am used to. Still, I love that dipping sauce!
This was a very different approach compared to the bibim nengmyun that I am accustomed to. This dish is traditionally made with hot pepper sauce (gochujang) but this dish came out with a somewhat sweeter sauce and lots of veggies. The arrangement with all of the veggies reminds me of bibimbap.It was so refreshing to eat something cold on such a hot day. While this restaurant is a departure from traditional korean food, it is a great spin for vegetarians.