Day: February 21st, 2008

Buddha’s delight

Thursday, February 21st, 2008 | All Things, Eats, Friends

Since that first visit in January, we’ve been averaging a trip to Amazing 66 on Mott Street every couple of weeks.  At the restaurant this Thursday afternoon, we had the serendipity to stumble upon the high-powered board meeting of new Asian American literary journal Kartika Review, i.e., our friends RL and SL. If there is any better way to conduct business than over a whole Peking duck, I do not know it.

We joined them and their fellow editor DW at a large round table, where their meal was already in progress.

Peking duck

Although the trio did generously offer to share with us some of their delicious-looking duck, I stayed strictly vegetarian with my #62 lunch special: Vermicelli with Buddha’s Delight.

As the name suggests, this dish is enjoyed traditionally by Buddhist monks, most of whom maintain vegetarian diets. (Buddhism’s Five Precepts prohibit killing, stealing, committing sexual misconduct, engaging in false speech and taking intoxicants, to avoid accumulating negative karma.)

Buddha’s delight

This slow-braised dish usually consists of a fairly long list of ingredients, cooked in a soy sauce-based liquid with other seasonings until tender. The specific items used vary greatly both in and outside Asia, and often carry some auspicious significance: black moss (fat choy) is a homonym for prosperity (as in “Gung Hay Fat Choy); ginkgo biloba nuts (bak ko) mimic silver ingots and therefore also bring good fortune; fried tofu and beancurd sticks (foo jook) represent blessings to the house; bamboo piths (jook tseng), wood ear fungus (ha mok yi) and mung-bean threads (fun see) symbolize long life.

No animals were harmed in the making of this delight.

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