I'm not Buddhist, but I definitely like to work some Buddhist principles into my hodge-podge of spiritual beliefs. Not to mention that Quan Am (or Kwan Yin, as I typically call her) is my favorite boddhisattva of compassion. As an ethical vegan, compassion is numero uno.
All that is to say, I love to get out and support my local Buddhist monastery whenever I can. Quan Am Monastery has a lovely Sunday service (all in Vietnamese) and a free vegetarian lunch, and Cassi and I have gone to that before. In fact, Cassi is Buddhist-ish, so she attends quite frequently. But I'm more of an eater than a meditator, so my favorite time to visit Quan Am is when they're having a "bake sale" fund-raiser for the monastery.
I blogged about my first visit to a Quan Am bake sale back in 2012, but they have them quite frequently. In fact, they had one today, and I scooped up all sorts of delicious goodies on the cheap. By the way, even though it's called a "bake sale," it's more of a "prepared Vietnamese meals" sale. There's not much in the way of baked goods, but there is a ton of savory treats. And everything is vegetarian (and generally vegan).
It was a nasty, cold, and rainy day, so I didn't take any photos of the beautiful grounds. But here's an older sunny day pic of the massive Quan Am statue surrounded by foo dogs. She greets you as you pull into the parking lot.
The bake sales are held in the back building on the property. And when I arrived around 12:15 p.m., it was kickin'. My friend Wai directed me to the hot soup table. A woman was building noodle bowls with all sorts of add-ins. I chose one with rice noodles, tofu, seitan, carrots, lettuce, and bean sprouts. Oh, and there were tiny Vietnamese apples that looked like black olives!
I sat down and enjoyed my soup at a table with a few other friends. And then I grabbed Cassi and we made our way around to buy grab-and-go items to feed us for the week. I got Banh Xeo with dipping sauce for tomorrow's dinner. Banh Xeo is basically like a vegan omelette-crepe thing made with rice flour and coconut milk. It's stuffed with tofu and bean sprouts!
And then I found some "Beef" Seitan and Green Bean Stir-Fry. I'll make at least two meals out of this by adding brown rice. And that seitan beef is insanely awesome.
Last time, I attended the service at Quan Am, I stuck around for lunch. And for dessert, I was served Che Bap, a Vietnamese sweet corn pudding made with tapioca, sugar, and coconut cream. So good! I had to buy some at today's bake sale. Only $2 for all this!
And there was one actual baked good! That's because Cassi made Vegan Green Tea & Almond Cupcakes to sell! I grabbed one for the road. My icing got a little smooshed, but it was delicious.
I'm not sure yet of the next bake sale date, but if I find out soon, I'll add it to this post. If you're local, you should definitely come check it out.