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Chinese New Year 2014 + Vegan Bakkwa Cookies!

By 21:13 , , ,

It's the Chinese New Year period! A.k.a the time of the year when I eat junk food without restraint. :x

I visited the same relatives this year as I do every year. It's my second year being vegan so it's not that bad. People (who I only see once a year) weren't that shocked. At every house there was something (unintentionally) vegan for me to eat during visiting - usually an Asian dessert of some sort. Really love the cheng teng at one of my relatives' house! ^^

I bought some CNY goodies from Yes Natural! I remember that all I ate last year were nuts and dried fruit. Lols I think I'm still at that stage at the beginning of veganism where you find many interesting vegan junk foods and can't resist trying them all!

KUEH BANGKIT. My favourite childhood CNY snack. Coconutty, melt-in-your-mouth cookies. I don't remember them (the non-vegan ones; they usually contain egg) tasting this good and being so melty!!

I almost-single-handedly finished 1/3 of it. In a day. :x 

I have like zero control with vegan junk food. :( I've eaten more kueh bangkit & love letters in three days than I have in the last 3 years combined.

Next up...
This is from some Learning Hokkien book. Lols Hokkien isn't easy. 

I don't remember love letters tasting this good either. They usually contain eggs and have patterns printed on them (as in the above picture) but I don't mind them simple like this. Similarly, this container was full before I started on it :x

Plus some nuts (which I barely touched because the kueh bangkit & love letters were too delicious!), dried mango (bluffing myself that it's healthier than regular ones because they're not luminously orange) and seaweed crackers (which I didn't eat because the guests wiped them all out).

And then on the second day of Chinese New Year, I went with my parents, cousins, uncle, aunts and grandmother to Guang Ming Shan (it's a Buddhist monastery) for brunch. I was so happy. So glad that my grandma suggested it and so thankful that my relatives all came! 
(Buddhists are often more open towards veganism, just saying.)

Firstly, we had lo hei, which involves yusheng. It's a cold dish with ingredients you pour on (oil, sweet sauce, pepper, fried puffs etc.) that symbolizes auspicious things, and then everyone tosses it with chopsticks while saying well-wishes for the new year. (This is my best attempt at explaining this Chinese salad.) Usually it has raw fish to symbolise growth and prosperity, but this vegan one has konnyaku jelly slices to replace that! 

I've tossed two yushengs before this and every time I wash my chopsticks after tossing. That's what I did last year too. I didn't even really like yusheng when I was a meat-eater, but now... It's never tasted this good before. :')

Then, we had a steamboat, yay!

I had a steamboat-style reunion dinner before this and like what I did last year, I brought along a portable electric pot. You know, those square-ish kind you bring to camping? It's kinda like a mess tin, but with a lid and an electric heater. So I ate veggies and rice. There were so many chopped-up dead animals on the table; I felt so sad. I imagine that it'll be exactly the same for years and years to come. 

Okay, back to the steamboat! It had leafy veggies, cabbage, tofu puffs, tofu, 'meat' balls, 'fish' balls, yam, mushrooms, wontons and glass noodles. I liked the yam most! :) The wontons were okay-ish; I don't really like this kinda yellow-noodle stuff. My aunt could tell that the stock contained a little bit (but not a lot) of MSG. I wish I could detect MSG too!!

It was my first time eating fish/meat balls in years! Even before I became vegan I stopped eating them, because they were fake, salty and loaded with MSG. Lols I'm increasingly eating 'normally' (within the realm of vegan food). 

Sometimes, my relatives ask why I don't just pick the veggies out of meat dishes and eat it. -_- To vegans, meat isn't food. It's a corpse. Would you eat food that's touched the blood and flesh of a dead body? Of course I didn't say that to any of them. Because I'm not quick-witted enough to think of it ._.

A random infographic about meat:
Of course, I'm not vegan just because of all these. I chose to be vegan because I believe that animals aren't commodities, and that they deserve to live a life of their own and not be enslaved, exploited and murdered. I'm glad that I'm no longer participating in this hideous violence.

I've recently found this great Facebook page, There's an Elephant in the Room. My favourite page ever! Do 'Like' it, it may open up your mind.

I don't usually eat mock meat, but I was curious when I saw this at Fairprice!

If you're wondering why vegans eat mock meat and find that it is hypocritical, think about why they've became vegan in the first place. It's not because we don't like the taste of meat, but because we don't like to participate in the senseless killing of animals when we have totally no nutritional need for them. 

Also, the 'plants have feelings too' excuse has been brought up so often! This is a good article. Usually the reply I give is somewhere along the lines of the first point, that you kill more plants when you eat animals than by eating animals directly. I can now bring up more good reasons when asked this excusetarian question! ;) (I mean, you don't actually eat meat because you think that plants have feelings right? What about the animals -_- )

So.. back to the bakkwa. It's like roasted squares of processed meat in sauce, normally made of pork, sometimes chicken. This is made of soybean fibre.

It's quite unhealthy. But of course healthier (for you, the animal, and the planet) than the real thing.

Mum cut it into tiny pieces lols. I think that pack had 5 slices. Baked it at 150 dec C for 10 mins. It was sizzling o_o  It was really oily, but baking got some of the oil out... and also made it kinda dry.

The texture wasn't much like bakkwa, but I thought that the taste was kinda similar. Though mum says it doesn't. But what do I know. I haven't eaten any in 2 years. The last one because I was vegetarian already, and the previous one because I decided that it was too unhealthy and not worth eating. 

This makes me remember something. Back then, I rejected junk food if I already knew what it tasted like. Wow. I must get back to that mindset that food is nourishment.

Photo: This is the best vegan bak kwa I've found so far in Singapore. Tastes great straight from the packet, but would be even better toasted!

Price: $5.50

*special thank you to my friend Kyle for recommending I try this brand
This photo is from Hungry Ang Mo's Facebook. It's supposedly the best vegan bakkwa he's tried! I'll probably get this next CNY.

So this vegan bakkwa is quite salty and oily. I didn't know what to do with it until mum suggested bakkwa cookies! Haha. 

I made these with some leftover gingerbread cookie dough (a similar recipe to this, but I used grated ginger instead of ground, less oil, and medjool dates to sweeten it).

It tasted surprisingly good! My gingerbread dough was quite mild tasting, so it balanced out the savouriness of the bakkwa! :)

I baked it for 15 mins at 180 deg C. Mum ate one... and I finished the rest :x

This was breakfast on the first day of CNY (Friday). Wow this has been the unhealthiest long weekend in forever! I must really get back to healthy eating! All the best to you if you need to get back on track too!!

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