It’s tough being the new kid on the block, especially when the block is already full of big kids who serve delicious food. But Buddha Belly, a food truck that serves authentic Chinese food, is ready to brave the aroma jam that is Thayer St. between Waterman and Charlesfield.
Buddha Belly popped up on the Providence food truck scene in September. The truck is on College Hill most Saturdays and Sundays for lunch and dinner. It cooks up Chinese “street food,” and though its menu currently consists of only a few items, the truck plans to expand it in the future. The man behind Buddha Belly also has a great sense of humor: he was wearing a shirt that said, “I HAVE THE BODY OF A GOD. Unfortunately, it’s Buddha.”
Buddha Belly’s menu items are more affordable than most of the other food trucks on College Hill, at $5-$6 each, and a friend and I were able to sample most of the items served.
The Chinese crepe was the star of the menu. I’m not sure what the official definition of a crepe is, but this certainly wasn’t anything like a crepe you’d get at the Creperie. It was a fried masterpiece, consisting of layers of chewy dough and crispy flakes, interspersed with fried egg and sprinkled with fresh herbs. It also comes slathered with a spicy sauce, which the owner kindly watered down for me because my taste buds are wusses. The crepe is definitely worth walking all the way up from the SciLi basement for.
On the egg theme, I tried a boiled Chinese seasoned egg. I was a little skeptical of its brown color, but it tasted pretty much like a normal hard-boiled egg with a hint of vinegar. I couldn’t tell you what the rest of the seasonings are, but if you’re in an adventurous mood, go for it.
The pork dumplings provided a more familiar taste. The dumpling shells had a perfect chewy-but-not-too-chewy texture, and the filling was very porky—it was straight ground pork, without any noticeable herbs. The shells were really big for the amount of filling, but the soupy pork broth in the dumplings made up for it.
My friend ordered the Hot and Sour soup, with spice level of 1.5 out of 5 (v specific). Even a 1.5-grade spiciness burned my mouth (as I said, wussy taste buds), so I can’t really tell you how the soup itself was. Even the owner of the truck warns about the spice:
Note to self “when ever preparing the peppercorns for the Hot/Sour Soup — DO NOT RUB YOUR EYE!! Peppercorn dust BURNS!!!!” Burns so good!
— Buddha Belly (@BuddhaBellyRI) September 21, 2014
Anyway, my friend was pleasantly surprised to find that the soup was full of rice noodles (she didn’t read the menu very closely), as well as lots of herbs and some hard pea-like vegetables. Give the soup a try if your taste buds are up for the challenge.
The only item on menu we didn’t taste was their wings, so hit up the truck and check them out yourself.
Buddha Belly is definitely up to the task of braving the College Hill food truck scene. Check out their twitter to find them for some delicious Chinese food.
Images via and via Kate Storey-Fisher ’16.