Grain bowls, nourish bowls, poke bowls and Buddha bowls have been the rage all over Pinterest and are a hugely popular form of healthy eating. Basically, anything goes when it comes to bowl making, as long as it’s fresh, flavourful and healthy. But like anything that starts to take over the zeitgeist, there’s a lot of noise and competition and, quite frankly, some pretty average attempts. So to help you sort through the noise, we’ve found some of the best places to grab a delicious buddha bowl. If we miss one of yours, as always, let us know!
Orchard Street is all about juice, but its Elixr bars offer a range of organic, raw vegan food options. The Buddha Bowl here is Japanese inspired and full of fermented vegetables, sesame cauliflower rice, avocado and cucumber all topped with a Japanese mayo.
Bronte, Bondi and Paddington – Sydney
Buddha Bowl Cafe
The produce here is guaranteed sustainable, organic and ethical, and they serve a wide range array of bowl options. From the Tamari Noodle Bowl with tofu to the Creamy Chickpea Curry Bowl, you’ll find something to fill your bowl.
Newtown – Sydney
Designed to grab on-the-go, Happy Place serves up loaded bowls packed with fresh ingredients like seared tuna, radish, tomato, carrots and mixed greens.
South Melbourne – Melbourne
The Plantation Juice Co
Beautifully presented bowls that look as good as they taste. The Plantation Juice Co is located on the edge of Adelaide’s foodie Mecca, the central market. With very generous portions for the price and a great range, it’s a must for healthy minded eaters in Adelaide.
Adelaide Central Markets – Adelaide
Dedicated to the Bowl’n way of life, here you’ll find fancy delicious treats like their Tasmanian salmon bowl with sushi rice, edamame, coriander, kelp noodles, pickled ginger, furikake, nori crackers and fried shallots. There’s also plenty of veggie and vegan options to entice you if you’re that way inclined.
CBD – Perth
We also have some great Buddha bowl recipes if you’re interested in making your own! Check them out on our website.
Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Season salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Place salmon skin side down and fry for 2-3 mins, or until skin is crispy. Turn over and cook for 1-2 mins, or until cooked.
In a small bowl, combine Japanese mayonnaise and sriracha.
To assemble, add cooked soba noodles into a bowl. Top with carrot, red cabbage, edamame, salmon, radishes, nori and avocado. Sprinkle with toasted black and white sesame seeds.D
Combine soy sauce, sugar, garlic, sesame oil and pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Add in steak and coat in marinade. Cover bowl in cling wrap and set aside in fridge to marinate for at least 1 hr or overnight.
After steak has marinated, heat oil in a pan over high heat. Once the oil has come to temperature, reduce to medium-low heat and place steak in pan. Cook for 30 secs on each side, or until browned. Continue to cook, turning every 20 secs until cooked to desired doneness. Remove from heat and allow to rest on a plate for 5 mins before slicing.
To assemble, add cooked white rice into a bowl. Top with carrot, red cabbage, kimchi, sliced steak and fried egg. Drizzle over sriracha, and garnish with sesame seeds and spring onion before serving.
Cover tofu with paper towel to draw out excess liquid for 15 mins, and then cut into small cubes. In a medium-sized bowl, combine cornflour, pepper and salt. Heat oil in a saucepan or pot over medium-high heat. Dip tofu cubes into cornflour mixture and then carefully drop into hot oil. Once golden brown, remove from oil and place onto a plate lined with paper towel.
Combine soy sauce and sliced chillies in a small bowl and set aside.
To assemble, add cooked brown rice into a bowl. Top with carrot, grilled bok choy, cucumber, salt and pepper tofu, avocado and radish. Serve with chilli soy sauce.
If you’re not a fan of cultural appropriation, look away now. The Buddha bowl is not named for Buddha, or his bowl. Buddha, in fact, thought that food had its place but should not take over your life. Where’s the fun in that though?
So what is a Buddha bowl then? And why was it given that name?
Though it’s commonly thought that Buddha ate food from a bowl, it would be a stretch to say this is where these deliciously healthy bowls took their name. More than likely, they were named after Buddha as a way to tap into the health market—yogis specifically. Yoga originated from the Vedas—Indian holy texts from around 1900 BC. These ancient texts gave rise to Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. However, despite its spiritual origins, most westerners who practice yoga are non-religious.
Businesses within the health industry have long used yoga’s spiritual links as a way to give their products and business extra gravitas. Buddha bowls are a prime example of this. In Australia, they’re more often than not called ‘grain bowls’ or ‘ancient grain bowls’. The Buddha name first appears in print in a Martha Stewart cookbook in 2013, but only really came into popular use in America in 2017. As these bowls started out as vegan options in a lot of restaurants, using the Buddha term seems, again, to be a marketing ploy.
So now we’ve figured out Buddha bowls have little to no religious significance, what are they?
As mentioned above, they almost definitely started out as vegetarian and vegan cuisine. They commonly have a grain—like quinoa or freekeh—and whichever other vegetables the maker wants to add. Kale often gets thrown in, but really any leafy green will do. What’s for certain is there’s no hard or fast recipe, and it’s pretty much an excuse to throw your favourite veggies into a bowl and munch away.
What’s been sneaking in recent years is the omnivore version of a Buddha bowl. These generally include throwing lean meat or fish into the mix. Given the overall vegetarian nature of Buddha’s teachings, maybe drop the Buddha name if you’re adding meat.
There’s a lot of delicious Asian ingredients that are perfect if you’re keen on making your own Buddha bowl, and we have some fantastic bowl recipes for you to try!
Start getting your beach body ready with these deliciously healthy meals!
In a saucepan, add hoisin sauce, peanut butter, sesame oil and garlic. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Slow stir in a little bit of water at a time until sauce is glossy and texture is smooth and slightly runny. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Fry off garlic until fragrant. Add prawns and pan fry for 30 secs. Add lemon juice to pan to coat prawns. When prawns are fully cooked, remove from pan onto a plate and set aside.
To assemble, add cooked vermicelli into a bowl. Top with red cabbage, pickled carrot and daikon, cucumber, mint leaves, prawns and peanuts. Drizzle over peanut hoisin sauce and serve.
Combine cornflour and soy sauce in a small bowl. Add beef strips and coat in mixture. Set aside to marinate for 10 mins.
To make the sauce, combine soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sugar and ground ginger.
Bring a pot of water to the boil. In batches, blanch broccoli florets for 60-90 secs, then remove from boiling water into an ice bath.
Strain in a sieve to remove excess water.
Heat oil in a wok or large pan over medium-high heat. When oil has come to temperature, add garlic and carrots, and stir-fry for 2 mins or until carrot has slightly softened. Add beef and stir-fry for 1 min or until nearly cooked to the desired doneness. Add in blanched broccoli, and then add in noodles. Stir through noodles with beef and vegetables, making sure evenly distribute the ingredients. Stir through sesame oil and serve.
Noodles are ingrained in Australian culinary culture. Australians bought more than $350 million worth of instant noodles alone last year! When you factor in the popularity of pho, ramen and stir-fried noodles on top of that, you start to understand the impact these delicious strands of carbs have on our palette every week.
Of course, with great popularity comes a surge in providers, and there’s a legitimate mountain of noodle purveyors out there these. So in an effort to help you choose, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourites from around Australia. As always, if we’ve missed your favourite, please let us know!
Found in the heart of China/Asiatown in the Brisbane suburb of Sunnybank, there are two of these little hole-in-the-wall soup slingers within 500 metres of each other. Their bone broth is simmered for 48 hours, topped with the unctuous soy and mirin-marinated char siu. Gyoza and rice balls are also for sale, and kadaema (extra noodles) cost $2.50. The shop closes at 9pm (10pm on Saturdays), or when the ramen runs out.
Trang’s Café & Noodle House
There are condiment selections, and then there are the choices offered at Trang’s. Boasting fish sauce, an assortment of chillies and tart half-moons of pickled white onion, you’ve got a mountain of ways to personalise your bowl. The delicious noodle soup itself is absolutely scrumptious with nothing extra added, so don’t feel pressured to decorate unnecessarily. With heaps of protein and rice noodles aplenty, Trang’s pho dac biet is your guarantee of a good time in Western Australia’s Vietnamese heartland. The restaurant also serves a variety of daily specials during the week including bun rieu (crab noodle soup with pork) and the French-inspired bo kho (beef stew).
Chinese fried noodles
The little-sister restaurant to the Lucas groups overcrowded hotspot Chin-Chin, Hawker Hall is situated down the trendy end of Windsor’s hipster hub Chapel street. While not quite reaching the heights of its city situated sister, Hawker Hall does an amazing fried noodle dish. While not a “traditional” dish, the beef and black bean are incredibly delicious and worth braving the queues for. The wok-charred beef is accompanied by rolled, flat rice noodles and seasonal greens, and the viscous source will have you running your spoon across the plate so you can savour every last drop.
Lantern by Nu
The latest offering from South Australia’s Thai food savant Chef Nu Suandokmai, Lantern Nu aim is to produce quality homestyle food, and it delivers in spades. The menu changes depending what seasonal produce is available, but the national dish of Thailand, pad thai, is always available. And delicious. The thin rice noodles and tart flavours are accompanied with fresh seafood and are big enough to share between 2-3. Enjoy by itself for a delightful noodle hit, or have some of the delicious street snacks first if you’re sharing.
The restaurant itself is best described as understated and a little drab, but it makes for a relaxing atmosphere where you always feel welcome. Being situated in Australia’s northernmost capital city, the heat and humidity will help with the feeling of authenticity. Their laksa is full of rich curry flavours and is packed with noodles and whichever protein you choose. You won’t regret the visit.
Combine ingredients for nuoc cham dressing in a medium-sized bowl and stir until sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, carrots, cabbage, bean sprouts and soy sauce. Cook for 5 mins or until softened. Add salt to taste. Set aside to cool.
Arrange spring roll pastry on diagonal. Place 1 tbsp of filling towards the bottom and roll upwards, making sure to wrap tightly. Fold in the sides before sealing the end with water. Place on a plate seam side down.
Heat oil in a pot or saucepan over medium heat. Deep-fry spring rolls in batches until golden brown, and then drain on paper towel.
Mix salt and five spice powder on a plate. Coat both sides of tofu squares in the mixture. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat, and then pan fry tofu until golden brown on both sides.
To plate up the dish, place a serving of vermicelli in a bowl. Top with lettuce, cucumber, carrots, pan-fried tofu and spring rolls, and then garnish with peanuts. Serve with vegan nuoc cham dressing.