Vegetarian CNY Dinner @ Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant
I love Shark's Fin Soup but as a diver, I feel peer pressure to refrain from consuming Shark's Fin. I decided to go with an open mind as it was an interesting cause that has been subject to much controversy. Some say that only the fins are harvested and the shark is thrown back into the water (leaving the bleeding, finless animal to die a slow and painful death) while others say that the whole shark is used.
I guess they decided not to hurt any animals by opting for a vegetarian meal. Hmm, I may love vegetables but I also love to eat meat so I wasn't sure how I would enjoy a vegetarian soup dish that is meant to emulate the robust flavours found in good quality shark's fin soups. Admittedly, the flavour comes from the rich stock as shark's fins are inherently flavourless. Then again, the point of the dinner was about learning to "love" live sharks and not shark's fins.
Dinner was hosted at Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant. The Herbal Soup in the menu above was replaced by "Vegetarian Shark's Fin Soup" or "Mock Fin Soup" as Camemberu calls it.
It's a pity that the soup didn't turn out the way the organizer, Jaki, expected. She had tasted the soup here with her family before booking the place and had found that it tasted pretty close to the real McCoy. Perhaps the restaurant was overwhelmed that night as it was packed when we were there. The Vegetarian buffet seemed to be really popular. However, Jaki can take heart as people who currently eat shark's fins are not vegetarians, so they can consume other alternatives instead such as Fish Maw Soup, Bamboo Pith Soup, Thick Seafood Soup or Spaghetti Squash aka Shark Fin Melon Soup.
I wished my command of Mandarin was better so I can fully understand what the China-born waitress was trying to explain to us in the barrage of mandarin words that overwhelmed me at every course. From what little I gathered, she seemed to do a pretty good job of explaining stuff that left us piecing together clues after her explanation was over. Apparently the snow fungus is harvested from a famous mountain in China and is historically (seems to be linked to some martial arts stories) reputed to have great restorative abilities. Sounds good to me.
It was also a pleasure to meet Jaki and her like-minded friends, who are so committed to saving sharks. A representative from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was supposed to tell us more about the campaign but he was taken ill and had to miss the dinner.
If you are keen to find out more about the campaign to conserve sharks, please visit this website for more information: lovesharks.sg
Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant Level 2, Quality Hotel, 201 Balestier Road, Singapore 329926 Telephone: +65 6254-0090 / 6254-0091
Operating Hours: Daily: 11.30am to 3.00pm & 6.00pm to 10.00pm