Monday, April 28, 2008

What is the Secret?

Recently one of my usual customers asked me how is it possible to create products that taste so similar to meat but do not contain any animals. “What is the secret?” he questioned me. I told him that the Asian culture have become extremely creative in imitating meat using prepared wheat gluten, agar, yam flour, and soybean. Because these ingredients are very flexible materials, they can be shaped into different textures and have the ability to absorb many flavors.

Let us focus on another main ingredient, Konjac 蒟蒻/菎蒻, aside from the wonderful and healthy soybean.

Konjac is a perennial plant, growing from a large corm up to 25 cm in diameter. Konjac is grown in China, Japan and Korea for its large starchy corm, used to create a flour and jelly. Many consumers also uses konjac as a vegan substitute for gelatin. This ingredient is found in our seafood products to provide a chewy texture resembling seafood.

In 1977, American Senate nourishment committee published a report that states the shortage of fiber in eating habits is one of the reason that adult diseases (obesity, constipation, arteriosclerosis, heart sickness, diabetes, cancer, gallstone, and hemorrhoids) have gradullay increased. For example, dietary fiber activates the function of intestines and let the harmful things go quickly out of your body. As a result, it defends you from intestine cancer. Konnyaku contains much fiber in it and keep you away from such diseases.

When taken with foods, it reduces speed of sugar intake which prevent rapid blood sugar level jump. Instead, it gives graduale increment. Study not only indicates that Konnyaku lowers Choresterol level, it also cleans the digestive tract of toxins. Most recently, the food industry is paying attention to the Konnayku flour to replace conventional starch formulations since the Konnyaku is lower in calories and lower in fat without sacrificing texture and taste.

Therefore if you are interested in creating a new dish with a unique flavor, visit our store or site,, for our Konnyaku selections.

Recommened Konnyaku selections

C004 Vegan Codfish Balls
C005 Vegan Shrimp Balls
C010 Vegan Prawns
C012 Vegan Beef Balls
P003 Vegan Seaweed Strips


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Asian Vegetarian Meal Without Garlic, Scallion, Onion, or Leeks PLEASE...

Growing up in Taiwan as a Taoist, our owner, was provided with plenty of 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. As time passed, she realized there were a growing number of vegetarians, not just among the Asian-American community. She then decided to start a business to introduce new styles and provide a greater selection to the vegetarian community. Thus the beginning of us...

Since the establishment of May Wah, many other health food retailers have slowly noticed the trend of vegetarian consumers as well. So how do we differentiate May Wah from other health food stores? We have mock chicken, mock beef, vegan seafood, texturized soybean, and natural seasonings just like any other stores. We may have a larger variety for our consumers but that is not our only appeal.

So here it is...


What is the reason behind this idea? It is proven by statistics that we should consume garlic and onion for the benefits of our heart and health. However as a Taoist, one does not only consume a vegetarian diet, he/she also does not consume vegetables that are considered as strong-smelling plants, traditionally also referred as 五荤 Five Acrid And Strong Smelling Vegetables' or 五辛 'Five Spices' as they tend to excite senses. This idea is very similar to the idea of being a vegan. Vegans do not believe in the consumption or use of animal products of any kind, which excludes drinking milk and consuming eggs. But in the Asian community, we excludes the addictive ingredients instead.

So definitely check out the ingredients of your favorite products the next time you drop by the store!


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Strange Vegetarian Food

The Chinese word for vegetarian food, SU SHIH, suggets a cuisine that is pure, simple, and plain. Despite the word, Taiwan's vegetarian cuisine can be considered plain but is often more refined and elegant than any other cuisine.

Nowadays visitors come into our store and discover products such as vegan squid, vegan pig's belly, vegan ears, vegan pig's shank, vegan flitch, and much more! And how exactly do these products come about?

For thousand of years, vegetarian chefs have become extremely creative in imitating meat using prepared wheat gluten, also known as seitan or temph, agar, yam flour, and soybean. Because these imgredients are very flexible materials, they can be shaped into different textures and have the ability to absorb many flavors.

Thus arrive the creation of mock chicken and mock seafood!

(Take a look at our Stephanie enjoying a vegan chicken drumstick, with an actual stick!)