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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.

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