Saturday 19 November 2011

Singapore: Buddhist cuisine

Vegetarian Delights, Buddha Tooth Temple dining hallThe dining hall in the basement of the Buddha Tooth Temple, which until recently served meals for free, now serves ‘Vegetarian Delights for Charity’ meals, snacks and drinks for $3, $2 and $1 respectively.

Lunch today included a hearty scoop of rice or noodles and a choice of three other dishes from the vegetarian selection. Mrs M’s eyes then turned to the Dim Sum for something sweet. The little pastry parcels were filled with mock barbecue pork (char siew su), but the sesame seed covered pastry balls filled with red bean paste (jian dui) went down well with hot tea.

The idea of ‘mock meat’ has always intrigued. Turns out it is created from something called ‘seitan’, made from a dough of wheat flour that is washed in water numerous times to extract the starch to leave a rubbery lump. After draining, the ‘wheat meat’ is then formed into shapes to be boiled, steamed, fried or baked in imaginative ways. Don't suppose it will replace the Christmas turkey.

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