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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Kauffman in 'Eat': At Enjoy Vegetarian, Dinner Comes in Inverted Commas

Posted By on Wed, Mar 3, 2010 at 4:50 PM

click to enlarge Enjoy's "chicken" drumsticks at the Inner Sunset original. - ALICE P./YELP
  • alice p./Yelp
  • Enjoy's "chicken" drumsticks at the Inner Sunset original.
For run-of-the-feedlot omnivores, eating from conviction can seem quaint, the adorably earnest manifesto of a precocious 14-year-old. It isn't, of course, especially for Buddhists, for whom right practice means refraining from torturing wives and beef cows. Today in "Eat," SF Weekly food critic Jonathan Kauffman spends some cruelty-free time at Enjoy Vegetarian on Kearny, spinoff of the Inner Sunset original. The new place draws a healthy crowd of Chinese Buddhists, loading up on deft examples of mock-meat cooking: five-spice "pork belly," braised "spareribs," eerily flaky "goose," a Vegas buffet of inverted-comma proteins. Read up on the particulars ― including Kauffman's take on the rationale for avoiding onions and garlic ― at Prime yourself, before you go, with this excerpt (after the jump):

The waiters fluidly switch between Cantonese and English, and the 100-item menu appeals to multiple subtribes of the veg nation: lemon chicken and pepper steak for the tentative, fatty pork with cabbage and lotus root with lily bulb and gingko nuts for everyone else. That said, cooking Buddhist vegetarian style presents cooks with quite a conundrum. Omnivores unthinkingly rely on meat and seafood products to provide umami, that barely definable sensation of roundness and depth that people nickname "the fifth taste."

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