VOLUME 28 NO. 13 | MARCH 21 - MARCH 27, 2009


Vegetarian food popular in Asia and around the world

Last updated 3-19-09 at 9:13 a.m.

By Amanda Strombom
Special to Northwest Asian Weekly

Have you ever wondered how you could improve your diet, know what to buy, and how to cook it? Vegfest is the largest vegetarian food festival in the U.S., with more than 500 different kinds of free food samples.

This year, Chat Mingkwan, author of “Buddha’s Table,” will be demonstrating his cooking skills and signing his cookbooks.
Born in Thailand, Mingkwan came to the U.S. to pursue higher education in the design field, while cooking and training in a French restaurant part time.

Later, he followed his yearning culinary passion by apprenticing in provincial French cuisine in Rayon, France. Returning to the U.S., Mingkwan paired his French cooking with his Thai background and offered his unique ways of cooking to Western kitchens. He’s now doing what he likes most: cooking, teaching, traveling, writing, and making sure that people who come in contact with him have a full stomach and a good time.

Other famous cookbook authors giving cooking demonstrations this year include Louise Hagler, author of cookbooks including “Soyfoods Cookery” and “Tofu, Quick and Easy”; Devra Gartenstein, author of “Local Bounty” and “The Accidental Vegan”; and Caroline Dupont, author of “Enlightened Eating.”

Renowned head chef of Café Flora and Archana Verma, Indian cooking instructor Janine Doran will be sharing techniques for preparing delicious food. There will be nine chef demonstrations throughout the weekend demonstrating useful cooking skills and tips.

In addition, there will be many free talks by respected doctors and dietitians on the health benefits of a vegetarian diet. Speakers this year include medical doctors such as Chan Hwang, M.D.; Esther Park-Hwang, M.D.; Michael Orlich, M.D.; Keith Hanson, M.D.; and dietitian to Hollywood stars, Marilyn Joyce, R.D., Ph.D. Speakers will be available for one-on-one questions as well.

The festival also has a diverse bookstore, which has a huge selection on nutrition and cookbooks. This year’s bookstore features the newly updated and revised guidebook “Vegetarian Pacific Northwest,” showcasing new veg-friendly restaurants and natural food stores in the Washington and Oregon areas. With useful geographic regions and helpful maps for guidance, “Vegetarian Pacific Northwest” is for anyone interested in healthy eating while traveling or at home.

Another book featured is “The Vegetarian Solution,” written by local author and vice president of Vegetarians of Washington Stewart Rose. The author shows how everyday food choices can have a huge impact on being susceptible to common diseases. The book also explains how a vegetarian diet can be a solution to environmental crises such as water pollution, global warming, feeding the world’s hungry, and giving animals a better life.

Children will be able to taste healthy foods for kids. Clowns will be on hand to help educate and entertain, and an area will be available for nursing mothers to use if necessary. (end)

Vegfest 2009 goes from Saturday, March 21 to Sunday, March 22nd, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. Admission is $7. Kids 12 and under enter for free. For additional information, visit www.vegfest2009.org or call 206-706-2635.

Amanda Strombom is president of Vegetarians of Washington. She can be reached at info@nwasianweekly.com.

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