dishes came in vogue as early as the Song Dynasty, and made much head way
during the Ming and Qing dynasties, which saw the rise of monastic,
imperial, and secular schools of vegetarian cuisine. Green vegetables,
fruit, mushrooms, and bean curd are major ingredients, and only vegetable
oils are allowed in a vegetarianís kitchen. The dishes are at once
refreshing, nutritious, easy to digest, and effective for preventing cancer.
Extensive choices of materials, and long years of practice, have enabled
this peculiar school of Chinese cuisine to come up with a series of highly
treasured dished. Many of the dishes are cunningly prepared so that they are
easily mistaken for real meat in shape and flavour Ė these dishes are
thereby nicknamed vegetarianís chicken, vegetarianís braised pork in soy
sauce and spices, vegetarianís pork joint, and vegetarianís assorted
delicacies. Other major dishes include mushrooms cooked with wheat gluten,
hot-and-sour vegetable filets, vegetarianís Ďfishí which is flavoured with
tender Chinese toon sprouts, and dried Ďmeatí strips.