Saturday, November 8, 2014

Fusion Food: Vegan Style

My cousin as guest speaker at the Sahmyook Seventh-day Adventist main church near Heogi subway station was of course thanked for his spiritual contribution via a vegetarian banquet. As there are two types of Adventists, those who are meat eaters but follow the dietary laws of Leviticus 11 like the Jews and those who prefer to prefer the vegetarian fare, most churches serve vegetarian dishes to visiting speakers or for pot-lucks. But the food served for the guest speaker this time was phenomenal : totally vegan with no animal product of any kind and virtual rainbow display of food goodness.

The food had some fusion food flair but was still definitely recognizable as Korean cuisine. The kimchi was the only non-fusion food served. The other foods were a sweet potato noodle with veggies (잡채) without any meat or seafood, a yellow pepper light stir-fry, a vegetarian-style soy-based "meat" made bulgogi-style, spinach with unfermented tofu rubbed with sesame-seed oil, Vietnamese rice-paper wraps stuffed with raw veggies, and vegetarian "meat" stuffed tofu. A rather unusual but very complementary pumpkin soup was also served as most Korean meals have some kind of soup served with them. And of course since kimchi is so important and there are 200 or more kinds, serving another kimchi would not be out of line and so a fusion kimchi -- so elegantly prepared -- was served. It was very lightly fermented and the water was wonderfully flavored with turmeric, a southeast Asian and middle-Eastern spice that is now appearing on supermarket shelves in Korea. The kimchi was so divinely exquisite that it should be in gourmet cookbooks!

Of course when there are guests dessert is likely to appear and on the table was the traditional "dessert" or after-food. Korean traditional desserts aren't for cluttering up the meal and sitting heavy on the stomach but are usually for clearing the palate and the fruit -- persimmon, Asian pear, and apple slices -- was for just that.

A perfectly eye-candy and mouth-watering meal! In Korea it is good to have connections, and my cousin was the connection to feasting on one of the most spectacular vegetarian banquets I have ever eaten!

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