Today I went with my mom and my uncle to check out the Chinese (Lunar) New Year festivities in Chinatown. The streets were filled with tents of vendors selling food and other various merchandise. My mom was on a mission to get her hot, fresh jin dui (deep fried sesame seed balls) and I was on a mission for good, cheap food. I must admit that I'm not the huuuugest fan of Chinese food (blasphemy, I know! My Chinese side of the family must be ashamed of me). It's not that I hate it, but sometimes the greasiness of the dishes can be overwhelming. Or maybe I'm just not as used to Chinese cuisine, so I am hesitant to try certain things that look unfamiliar.
Today, I came to the horrible realization that even though I love most food, I still can be quite closed-minded. We came across a tent that had a bunch of food that I didn't recognize, and I was ready to just walk on by. My mom, however, was curious and decided to buy a few items including a vegetarian drumstick, five-spiced tofu, and vegetarian scallop. I didn't take a picture of the food, but the tofu was an intimidating black color, and I was confused by the term of a "vegetarian drumstick". Little did I know that this tent served only vegetarian food, something that I had never experienced in a Chinese restaurant before. The food my mom purchased was alright, but I was drawn to the other items they were serving--the braised daikon looked especially good. I saw that they had a plate for $8 including rice or noodles and three entree choices, and I was sold. And that was the best decision I made!
Everything on that plate was delicious, and I couldn't believe that everything was vegetarian. I ordered the plate with noodles, braised daikon, sweet and sour tofu, and curry. I couldn't believe that I almost missed out on one of the best vegetarian meals I have ever eaten. The lady who served me told me, "See you next year!" I'm not sure if they only serve this food during the Chinese New Year Festivities, but I will be very sad if I have to wait one whole year before I can eat this again. But I will definitely be back next year for more!
|The Tent: Buddha's Light International Association of Hawaii|
|The Food: Sweet & Sour Tofu (Top Left), Braised Daikon (Top Right), Noodles, and Curry (Bottom Right)|
Love and grub,Leila