This afternoon, upon opening my takeaway box of vegetarian lunch, provided by the company, I gasped as what lay before me was nothing but a heap of oil. This particular $5 pack was picked by the Tea Lady tasked with choosing our lunch, and she got it from a Chinese Vegetarian Rice stall in Golden Shoe Food Centre. It took me a while to unearth underneath but let’s take a look at the second layer, shall we?
For S$5, the huge portion contained a big slab of breaded
mock meat (went back again and it is actually yam) resembling real-meat chops, another mock meat shaped to resemble Ngo Hiang (Chinese Five-Spice Pork Roll), thick cut potato wedges, thinly sliced bittergourd, thick-sliced cucumbers, fried firm tofu very thin beancurd skin rolled up and shaped like a springroll, shards of deep-fried golden brown beancurd skins, with a heap of anaemic-looking fried bee hoon cushioning the lot. Lots of red chilli paste and slices of green chilli provided heat and unnecessary fiery redness for lunch. I thoroughly enjoyed the slab of strong cumin and garlic exterior mock-meat chop which remained crunchy for a long while. The potatoes and bittergourd were dripping in oil and I took cold comfort that the bee hoon underneath acted as a sponge to soak up the gravy.
Dishes sighted at such vegetarian stalls usually consist of a wide range of mock meat (gluten-heavy Seitan, dyed and shaped to resemble real meat), stir-fried vegetables soaked in oily gravy, and deep-fried-to-death varities of beancurd skin, tofu or tempeh. The meat lover in me always forgets it’s existence whenever I am savouring these oily goodness.
This lunch also brought back memories of a signage I came across in Terminal 21’s Food Court where a plate of Vegetable Tempura was enthusiatically labelled as “healthy”. Delicious as it may be, no vegetarian would loudly proclaim to be healthy after having this. Still, Even though they are primarily vegetables, the amount of oil involved usually calls for such meals to be an indulgence.