Marinated vegetarian snacks
A native of Hong Kong would love the marinated vegetarian snacks in the traditional Chinese vegetarian restaurants, where trays of these red, orange, yellow and brown delicacies are on display at the front counter. These are all vegetarian in the names of sweet and sour snacks, soy-flavored snacks, oyster-sauce-flavored snacks and curried snacks. Besides, there are also a wide variety of mock dishes, such as vegetarian chicken, abalone, BBQ pork and duck gizzards in terms of texture or in shape. Regardless of tastes and shapes, the main ingredients of these marinated vegetarian snacks are invariably prepared with gluten together with different kinds of sauces.
Taking vegetarian meals is a traditional Chinese custom dating back as far as the Western Zhou Dynasty three thousand years ago. In the earliest days, people taking vegetarian meals was not for the sake of keeping fit, but offering sacrifices instead. For instance, when a senior member of a family passed away, the younger members of the family had to make vegetarian meals to relieve their hunger as an expression of their memories of the deceased. During the Ngai-Chun period, when Buddhism had been introduced, the emperor then took every effort to promote vegetarianism among his subjects, which eventually became a Buddhist tradition.
In the Tang Dynasty, vegetarianism became more and more popular. The temples went to such extent as to invent the mock dishes of vegetarian chicken and duck, the most famous dishes being the Osmanthus with Fresh Corn Soup, Burgeoning Lotus Flower and so on. There is little doubt that vegetarianism had become the vogue.
It was in the Song Dynasty when vegetarianism had developed into a gastronomic culture with countless dishes in endless styles up to several hundreds, including the light dishes and snacks. In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, such literary writers as Li Yu, Yuan Mei and their peers came to recognize going vegetarian was good for health, which to a great extent promoted its popularity. Even the kitchen in the palace would have vegetarian menus with more than 200 styles for royal banquets. It is said that vegetarianism was so phenomenal that even the Empress Dowager Cixi had preferred to take vegetarian meals to heal her illness.
1) Tung Fong Siu Kee Yuen
Address: 241 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai
2) Oriental Vegetarian
Address: 3/F, 239 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai