Well, most of you know that I love my meat. I don’t really like vegetarian food…or so I thought. I went to Kechara Oasis New Age Vegetarian Cuisine in Jaya One recently to meet up with Jamie (more on that later) and check out their vegetarian offerings.
Kechara Oasis is one of the high end vegetarian eating establishments in town – they take great pride in serving fresh and different styles of the usual vegetarian fare.
It was pretty packed when I arrived there for lunch. I was pleasantly surprised to see their menu – they offer vegetarian fare from all around the world.
I started with Tibetan Butter Tea. This comes in a flask and is slightly salty. However, I really loved the creamy mouth-feel and strong brewed tea that this concoction presents – the salty accent just highlights and complements the buttery goodness.
Tingmo is the Tibetan version of the Chinese man tau (steamed bun). It comes with a side of curry that goes very well with the neutral taste of the man tau. The Tingmos are also good for mopping up the gravies of the main dishes.
The deep fried Momos is a must-order item when you go to Kechara Oasis – it’s a unique Tibetan twist of the Japanese Gyoza dumplings and comes filled with potatoes, vegetables, herbs and cheese. It tastes lovely when dipped into chilli oil. I didn’t even realize there wasn’t any meat inside.
We also had two different types of curries. I particularly enjoyed the Vietnamese Curry Chicken – it has Seitan drumsticks with a cornucopia of vegetables and potatoes. The Seitan drumsticks tastes remarkably similar to meat – the texture is spot on.
The Kung Po Hedgehog Mushroom comes with a smattering of cashew nuts on top and comes highly recommended from me. It’s a very spicy dish of mushrooms, green peppers and carrots stir fried in Kung Po sauce. I’m a big fan of spicy dishes and this one did not disappoint – it finished my bowl of brown rice with the sauce alone.
If you prefer something less spicy, the Thai Butter Hedgehog Mushroom is one of Kechara Oasis’s more popular offerings. The way they cook the hedgehog mushrooms makes it taste like battered pieces of meat. The sprinkling of sesame seeds adds to the flavor and I loved the buttery taste of the dish.
However, the most remarkable dish is a fusion vegetarian pasta dish that tastes like nothing I’ve ever had. It’s made with spaghetti with thick green curry gravy and it’s the subtle touches like the sunflower seeds on top that adds a lot of texture and dimension to the pasta. I’ll definitely come back to this again. Delicious and creamy, it’s one of the best fusion dishes I’ve ever had – and it’s vegetarian to boot!
Anyway, I was at Kechara Oasis to meet Jamie, who is rather active in Kechara. She has published a book about her life as a rather spoiled kid and I’ve always been curious about how someone like her would end up as one of Rinpoche’s liaisons in Malaysia.
I met her though David (who has also written an autobiography) and what drew me to these people is that they’re people like me who somehow managed to give up their previous life of hedonism and become who they are today. It all comes down to Rinpoche’s teachings and although I haven’t had a chance to meet him, he’s this cool dude from the US who’s spreading the word of Buddhism through good deeds.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Kechara, especially their efforts in Kechara Soup Kitchen (KSK). I’m going to volunteer and help out – it’s a good cause to spend a few Saturdays on. However, it’s David and Jamie that got me reading Rinpoche’s blog – especially the bits about Animals & Vegetarianism.
I’m sure a lot of you know how badly animals are treated, but since you get your chicken from the supermarket, it’s not a very visceral reminder of the industry. It’s not easy being a vegetarian – I’ve heard personal anecdotes from David and Jamie on how they each achieved it.
I think Jamie puts it best when she said that it’s a struggle at the beginning but after a while you just get used to it when you think about the mistreatment of animals that happens in the industry. I’m not sure I can do it but it does give you food for thought (pun intended).
Rinpoche’s blog explains it very well in Animals & Vegetarianism. He’s the only blogger I know who’s been ordained by the Dalai Lama and writes about a lot of different things that you wouldn’t expect – everything from Food & Recipes to Current Affairs & News.