I've had some amazing meat substitutes that I got from my brother-in-law, whose parents are Buddhists. They get it from the temple, apparently. I've also been some some vegetarian Buddhist recipes and had some pretty incredible reproductions of broccoli beef, shark's fin soup, etc. It's been so long since I've had any meat that I never miss it. In fact, the thought of eating it is usually anything but appetizing. But there are times when I might want to throw in a little something into chili or a stir-fry that is meat-like, and a little more authentic-seeming than TVP, and sometimes I actually do miss eating the occasional bangers & mash (the buddhist ham is quite good). And for meat-eating friends, it would be good to have access to these excellent meat substitute products.Do any of you know where this kind of thing can be bought? I live in San Francisco, and I've kept my eye out at Chinatown, etc., but I think this kind of thing is a specialty item that won't be in a typical Asian store.Any help will be appreciated.
You might have better luck at a Whole Foods Market or a trendy yuppie restaurant area. Look for textured vegetable protein and the like. The key no doubt is how it is prepared, there is real artistry in this kind of cooking. If you are ever in New York, there is a sort of chain called Zen Palate, there's one in Union Square and another on Ninth Avenue in the 40's, that do this sort of thing. It's excellent. Another one is called Xenith, at 8th Avenue and 52nd St. Incidentally, while there are a lot of Chinese buddhists who go the vegetarian route, hence this highly elaborate cuisine, Buddhism does not require vegetarianism (sort of hard to do when you are a monk with a begging bowl; beggars can't be choosers, it would be impolite). Do any of you know where this kind of thing can be bought? I live in San Francisco, and I've kept my eye out at Chinatown, etc., but I think this kind of thing is a specialty item that won't be in a typical Asian store.
Try a food coop like http://www.rainbowgrocery.org/and Trader Joe's.
Most of the Asian grocery stores that I've been to have vegetarian gluten products (canned). If you look for labels that say 'mock' (example mock abalone, mock duck, etc.) in English you have found vegetarian substitutes (at least in my experience). I am going to butcher the spelling (which seems to vary), but Chow Pai is one of my favorite 'special' additions to a meal. My mother use to make gluten when we were kids, and I really enjoy the taste and texture. The sauce which the gluten comes in is a little oily, but is much tastier on potatoes than gravy.Now I'm HUNGRY :)foolwizard
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