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Embracing Asian Meat-Free Culture: Exploring Veganuary with Lee Kum Kee

Embracing Asian Meat-Free Culture: Exploring Veganuary with Lee Kum Kee

16 January 2024

In the heart of Chinese culinary traditions lies the celebration of meat-free days, especially on the 1st and 15th days of the lunar calendar. These long-standing customs, deeply rooted in Chinese heritage, offer a fascinating glimpse into the realm of regional plant-based cuisine, even for those celebrating Veganuary in the UK.

Understanding the Tradition

The concept of observing meat-free days traces back hundreds of years and is a significant part of Chinese heritage. These days highlight the importance of balance and mindfulness in eating, advocating for both animal and plant-based foods in a balanced diet.

In Chinese philosophy, harmony with nature is crucial. Choosing meat-free meals on these days symbolises respect for all life forms, promoting compassion and gratitude for the bounty provided by nature.

The practice of meat-free days has been passed down through generations, woven intricately into Chinese heritage. Families come together to honor these traditions, sharing stories and recipes that have been cherished for centuries. 

The Lunar Influence

The choice of the 1st and 15th days of each lunar month for abstaining from meat stems from ancient beliefs. The lunar calendar, deeply intertwined with Chinese culture, carries spiritual significance. The 1st and 15th days hold particular importance, representing the new moon and full moon, respectively. Aligning meat-free days with these lunar phases symbolises renewal, cleansing, and a fresh start.

You could say that this idea is mirrored in western cultures with Veganuary falling in January – a month that is all about the year and new beginnings. In the UK, exploring Chinese vegetarian cuisine and Chinese vegan food allows people to explore a tapestry of new flavours and textures. From the savoury richness of braised tofu to the umami-packed goodness of stir-fried vegetables glazed in Lee Kum Kee's authentic sauces, the possibilities are endless.

Discover authentic Chinese vegan food meat-free recipes below:

Braised East-West Mushrooms

Check out these tasty braised mushrooms by Ken Home OBE, featuring a mix of fresh, dried Porcini, and dried Chinese black mushrooms that create a rich, umami flavour and almost meaty texture. 

Seasoned with garlic, spring onions, and a super sauce blend of sweet soy and mushroom vegetarian stir-fry sauce, this dish is an ideal choice for those seeking a delicious, hearty vegetarian meal.

Braised East-West Mushrooms recipe

Hot & Sour Soup

Introducing our delicious hot & sour soup, where a delicious mix of bamboo shoots, carrots, firm tofu, and shiitake mushrooms, all coming together in a tangy, spicy broth.

Seasoned with a trio of taste bud ticklers: seasoned rice vinegar, light soy sauce, and chili garlic sauce, it’s not just a soup, it's a veggie delight that’ll defo warm up a cold January evening!

Hot & Sour Soup recipe

Vegan Fujian Fried Rice

Lee Kum Kee's Vegan Fujian Fried Rice is a testament to the fusion of tradition and innovation, offering a tasty vegan twist on a classic Chinese dish. This recipe brings together a medley of flavours, textures, and aromas that perfectly encapsulate the essence of Asian meat-free cuisine.

Vegan Fujian Fried Rice recipe

Ken Hom's Vegan-Friendly Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles

Switching out meat for delicious, juicy aubergines, Ken Hom's Vegan-Friendly Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles captures the vibrancy of authentic Chinese flavours, presenting a vegan-friendly rendition of a classic dish. Cook & prep in less than 30 minutes!

Ken Hom's Vegan-Friendly Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles recipe

Looking for more plant-based dishes? Discover a whole host of vegan & vegetarian recipes here.

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