Thursday, February 21, 2008

What is tangyuan / 湯圓 ?

My mom brought me to the temple this morning and told me that today is the day of the Green Lantern Festival also known as 元宵節 in chinese. Apparently it is the last day of celebrating the Lunar New Year. People usually celebrate the holiday by carrying lanterns with messages of good fortune, family reunion, abundant harvest, prosperity and love.

To celebrate this holiday, the temple aunts decided to make something special and created tangyuan soup! Instead of making it as a desert, they added some vegetarian chicken, mushrooms, sea mosses, and taro and it was.....DELICIOUS!

Whoever heard of serving tangyuan as a meal instead of a desert?

White Balls: Tangyuan
Vegetables: Spinach
Bottom Cubes: Taro
Left Chunks: Vegetarian Chicken Bites

Growing up in Taiwan as a Taoist, my mom was always provided with delicious vegetarian food, but when she moved to New York, the cultural environment lacked many of the foods she grew up with, and it affected her traditional eating habits. And that's how she began the business of providing mock meat to newly vegetarians. Nowadays she's always lecturing me on how lucky I am that I am able to enjoy all these mock meat to help me with being a vegetarian and help balance my inner soul by not killing animals that may affect my karma in my future lifetimes... (exhale..) I tell her that she should not worry about me and think about spreading the message faster so more people could see try fake chicken or the fake duck that do not contain any animal products at all! (EXHALE...)


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