New Bodai: A Yellow Makeover

Aug 13th

It’s been a while since I last visited my old friend in Flushing… and it turns out they got a makeover, and a name: New Bodai! But it’s really just a change in location and interiors, since I was still met with the same grumpy, scowling waitress as last time.

There’s been a few notable improvements, such as the smaller, cleaner, more aesthetically pleasing space, adorable kiddy book menu and non-stinky bathroom.

I'm kinda liking the new color scheme, it's very cheerily yellow/blue zen.

The inside is much more clean-looking, with minimal décor.

I’m always in the mood for dim sum, and decided to see if still tasted like the original Bodai I was used to.

Here’s a rundown of what I ordered:

  1. Shrimp Rice Roll
  2. Cruller Rice Roll
  3. Shrimp Dumplings (as you can see, I like my faux shrimp)
  4. Shu Mai
I’m also adding 2 entrées from a later meal I shared with my friend Monica. Thanks Momo!

Let’s start with the shrimp rice rolls: they tasted pretty much like I remembered, squishy, savory, and super yum. They cut the rolls a little smaller than the location in Chinatown, but there are 4 pieces instead of three. Definitely a classic!

I always order them... definitely a fave of mine.

I could eat like 20 of these.

Ray always orders the cruller rice rolls, and this time was no exception. I thought the cruller they used could have been crispier, but we also went quite late in the day (about 3:00– dim sum ends at 3:30), so it could have become less crisp since the morning. Or maybe they just used frozen, I didn’t bother to ask. Either way, the portion size was also pretty good for the price, and I was satisfied.

What makes cruller rice rolls yummy is the contrasting crispy/soft textures.

Shrimp dumplings are also another staple in my dim sum regimen… I like to look at them as much as I like eating them (personally I don’t think I would ever be able to replicate the pearly look that emanates from the dumpling wrappers!). These also tasted like the ones I’m familiar with, and were also a good size! They are also in the cheapest set ($2.50 instead of $2.95), so that makes it even more tasty in my eyes.

Pretty good, just like I remembered them to be!

Inside the dumpling is a yummy soymeat/celery/carrot filling.

Now, I’ve never liked the shu mai at Bodai, but I was curious to see if they would follow a new recipe. And it turns out… they didn’t! Blast it! The Bodai Shu Mai is very dry, starchy, and all around really not tasty at all. The filling is just some sticky rice mixed with carrots and other veggies. Really not that great… although I guess it could be a good substitute for rice.

It looks much better than it tastes.

Now on to the two entrées: the first is the Taro Nest: which looks like just that: a bird’s nest with taro inside. I asked the staff how it was made, and they basically said they deepfry some bread batter, much like tempura, with the taro inside. Hmm, yeah, I probably won’t be able to replicate that at home. Haha.

The dish wasn’t really my favorite: the taro filling also had bok choy in the middle, which I thought made the filling a lot mushier than it needed to be. Basically, the only thing I enjoyed about this dish was the crisp outer shell, which melted nicely in my mouth. It came with a sweet and sour pineapple/green and red bell pepper sauce, which I thought didn’t really go with it that great. I’d say skip this and get the taro bowl instead!

Yeah, it literally looks like a bird's nest.

The filling: not very tasty. Maybe some veg meat would be better?

The sauce was pretty good, but it didn't really go well with the dish.

Next up we have the lettuce song, which my friend ordered and I sampled. Basically, it’s kind of a do-it-yourself dish: you scoop some of the filling into a leaf of lettuce, then add brown sauce on top of it to your liking. I’ve seen two vegetarian restaurants with this dish, so I’m guessing it’s a mainstay of these eateries.

The filling was yummy: a mixture of sautéed finely cut red bell pepper, brown rice and corn kernels atop a crispy rice noodle bed.  It’s a little spicy, but I think it really adds to the dish. Wrapping the filling in the lettuce leaves makes for a refreshing, savory wrap, which is only enhanced by the addition of the brown sauce. Maybe I should have ordered this instead!

Overall, New Bodai scores points for the new clean interior (and bathroom!) and their refined menu. And to see a picture of each item, visit the Chinatown Bodai’s revamped site, which has new photos that will make your stomach growl (I know this from firsthand experience!).