Highlighting wild lion dances, vibrant parades, funny bun scrambling contest and showcasing bun towers, here comes the most lively and colorful Hong Kong Festival, the Cheung Chau Bun Festival. This festival portrays tradition and folklore of China. The centre of attraction includes giant bamboo mountains which are covered with homemade buns. These are set up at Pak Tai Temple, where the main celebration takes place. Like every other fest, this too has a story related to it. There was an island which was hit by epidemic ruining many lives. Finally the local people got in God Pak Tai. He eradicated plague and killed evil spirits. Hence Pak Tai Temple is considered as the most religious centre of the island.
The festival’s parade includes colorful lions, marching bands, martial arts activities, flowery floats, loud drums and cymbals. The most unique and thrilling activities includes adults carrying children on their shoulders, dressed up like mythological Chinese deities. Their dressing-up like this symbolizes driving away the evil spirits. Next is the peculiar Bun Grabbing Contest. A tower of 60 foot is made, all covered by buns. You have to grab maximum buns in 3 minutes, isn’t it interesting? There are more fun activities to add on to this. During 3 days of the fest, entire island goes for a vegetarian diet. I am very fond of Chinese food. So let’s add some vegetarian yummzz from the land of China.
Vegan Mapo Tofu
3 sliced Scallions,
1 cup warm Water,
1 block diced soft Tofu,
2 minced Garlic Cloves,
1 teaspoon minced Ginger,
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil,
15 dried Shiitake Mushrooms,
1 1/2 tablespoon Black Bean Sauce,
1 tablespoon Cornstarch with 2 tablespoons Water.
2 teaspoons Sugar,
2 teaspoons Soy Sauce,
2 teaspoons Sesame Oil,
2 ½ tablespoons Chili Bean Paste,
½ teaspoon ground Sichuan Pepper,
1 tablespoon Chinese Rice Wine or Dry Sherry.
Soak shiitake mushrooms in 1 cup of warm water for 20 minutes. Drain mushrooms, squeezing excess water. Keep this water. Discard the stems and chop the mushroom caps. Now let’s prepare the sauce. Take a small bowl. Add in leftover water and all the ingredients mentioned under sauce. Keep aside.
Heat a wok. Add oil. Add the mushrooms, black bean sauce and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Add scallion whites, garlic, ginger and stir-fry until fragrant for 1 minute.
Pour in the sauce. Now add water. Bring it to boil, then simmer. Gently add tofu cubes. Allow the sauce to simmer for 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a small pan, add in the cornstarch and water mixture. Heat for 1 minute, stirring continuously. Add to the tofu gravy. Allow to simmer till the gravy thickens.
Garnish with green scallions. Serve hot with rice!
Enjoy the Chinese treat!