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Vegetarian Buddha’s Delight Recipe

by Jeanette on January 31, 2014 · 21 Comments
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Vegetarian Buddha’s Delight is a traditional food served for Chinese New Year. Packed with a variety of “good luck” ingredients, it’s sure to usher in a bright start to the New Year.
Vegetarian Buddha's Delight  © Jeanette's Healthy Living #ChineseNewYear #LunarNewYear #Chineserecipe
One of the Chinese New Year dishes I fondly remember that my namesake, Auntie Jeanette, made when I was growing up was Buddha’s Delight or Lo Han Jai. It’s a vegetarian dish and easily made vegan, chockfull of a variety of interesting Asian ingredients.

There are dried ingredients such as shitake mushrooms, wood ear fungus, day lily buds, dried bean curd, and mung bean noodles in this dish as well as fresh vegetables. Bamboo shoots and a special seaweed called black moss are also traditionally in this dish.
Vegetarian Buddha's Delight  © Jeanette's Healthy Living #ChineseNewYear #LunarNewYear #Chineserecipe
The seasonings can be simply soy sauce and a little sugar, or oyster sauce (vegetarian oyster sauce can be used to keep this vegan). Sometimes, fermented bean curd is also added.

It’s hard to find some of these ingredients unless you have access to Chinatown or a well stocked Asian grocery store, so this recipe is very flexible.

Each of the ingredients in Buddha’s Delight is symbolic of something lucky for the Chinese New Year.

Shitake Mushrooms – Longevity
Bamboo – Wealth
Dried Bean Curd – Fulfillment of Wealth and Happiness
Day Lily Buds – Wealth
Mung Bean Noodles (cellophane noodles ) – Silver Chain
Wood Ear Fungus – Longevity
Green Vegetables – Close Family Ties

Vegetarian Buddha's Delight  © Jeanette's Healthy Living #ChineseNewYear #LunarNewYear #Chineserecipe
I cheated a bit with my Buddha’s Delight by using a few cans of prepared vegetables. One was a vegetarian sausage (seitan) with mushrooms and bamboo shoots, and the other was sauteed dried tofu and bamboo shoots.

A drizzle of sesame oil at the end adds a nice touch.

For more Chinese New Year inspiration, check out my post 16+ Lunar and Chinese New Year Recipes.

Vegetarian Buddha’s Delight

Rating: 51

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 6

I did not add any soy sauce as the prepared vegetables I used were already seasoned. If you don't use these, season with a little soy sauce or vegetarian oyster sauce. Vegetarian Sausage contains gluten, so if you're gluten-free, leave this out.


  • 4 dried shitake mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup dried daylily buds
  • 2 tablespoons dried wood ear fungus
  • 1 1.7 ounce pack mung bean noodles
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 slice ginger, the size of a quarter, minced
  • 1 square fermented bean curd, mashed up, optional
  • 2 cups bok choy or napa cabbage, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 9-ounce can Vegetarian Sausage with Mushrooms, and Bamboo Shoots (leave out for gluten-free version)
  • 1 10-ounce can Sauteed Dried Tofu and Bamboo Shoots
  • a drizzle of sesame oil


  1. Soak mushrooms, tiger lily buds and wood ear fungus in water overnight. To keep ingredients immersed, place a wet folded paper towel on top; strain and reserve soaking liquid.
  2. Cut mushrooms in halves or quarters depending on the size. Cut off tough ends of tiger lily buds. Cut black wood ear fungus into bite size pieces.
  3. Soak mung bean noodles for 1/2 hour or longer; strain. Use scissors to cut into 2" lengths.
  4. Heat oil in a wok or large pan. Saute ginger until fragrant, just a few seconds. Add mushrooms, day lily buds,wood ear fungus, Vegetarian Sausage with Mushrooms and Bamboo Shoots, and Sauteed Dried Tofu and Bamboo Shoots. Saute 3-4 minutes. Add 3/4 cup reserved soaking liquid and fermented bean curd. Cover and cook 5-7 minutes. Add mung bean noodles and bok choy. Cover and cook another 2 minutes. Drizzle with sesame oil.

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  1. I could have definitely used a big bowl of this this week! I love how each ingredient is meant to bring you good luck or good health or something good in the new year!

    • Thanks Joanne – Chinese New Year food is all about eating symbolic foods – making a variety of “lucky” foods for the New Year tonight!

  2. This was always one of the dishes I look forward to around Chinese New Year too! Yours looks so tasty and good Jeanette, my mouth is watering just looking at this :) Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy year and a wonderful CNY celebration!

  3. Gorgeous! I’m gonna have to try this.

  4. Thanks Robyn – hope you enjoy this!

  5. I haven’t heard of a couple of these ingredients but we will be at the huge Chinese Market this weekend in Phoenix so I’ll have to keep my eye out. Love me some good noodles and if it brings me some luck then that’s a bonus. ;)

    • Gwen, this is a very flexible recipe – use whatever you can get your hands on at your local Chinese market. Enjoy!

  6. This dish totally has my name written all over it! I love that this is a vegetarian version as well!

  7. I have GOT to have a big bowl of this. Or two. Maybe three. WOW!! I can’t wait to make this. Hoping I can find ALL of the ingredients!

  8. Happy New Year, Jeanette!
    Love buddha’s delight! I shall make some for the lunch too.

  9. This is my kind of meal! I want some of this right now!

  10. That is a great bowl of food – love the meaning behind the ingredients. Happy New Year!

    • Thanks Alyssa – it’s always fun to learn the symbolic meanings behind all the ingredients in Chinese dishes for the New Year.

  11. I’ve heard about this dish, but haven’t tried this dish (although I like all the ingredients in this dish!). The noodles will soak up all the nice flavors… I love this!

  12. I’m in love this kind of food plus the good luck that comes with this dish!
    I’ll ask my wife to help me out in cooking this dish. Im not that really good
    with cooking but great in food tasting! :)

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