For years, I wondered where the vegan and vegetarian Chinese restaurants in NYC obtained their mock meats. Most of these restaurants use the same ingredients, and a few, like Home on 8th, do almost nothing other than place these analogues over a bed of steamed vegetables. Others, like Wild Ginger, excel at presentation and nice plating, but their main dish prices are in the $11-$14 range, and they are not located in my neighborhood. That got me thinking: I wonder if I could make these dishes myself? Then, I discovered the Holy Grail of Chinese faux meats in New York City: May-Wah Healthy Vegetarian Food, Inc.
Located at 213 Hester Street in Chinatown, they stock just about every veggie meat analog you can think of, almost all of them vegan, including mock chicken, fish, beef, steak, shrimp, ham, beef jerky, chicken nuggets, smoked sausage—this list goes on and on. Almost all of these offerings are different than what you find at Whole Foods or other natural food stores, although Westerly Market—our favorite natural food store in NYC—does stock a couple of these items. Our favorites are the Mock Chicken Nuggets (my wife's favorite), Coal Roasted Veggie Sausage (a hit all around), Citrus Spareribs (my favorite), and the Vegan Ham and Mock Chicken Legs (my son's favorite). Best of all, everything is relatively inexpensive. They even offer a discount to those who shop there a few times a year.
If you like to cook Chinese cuisine and you are vegan or vegetarian, check this place out. You'll save some dough and discover a whole world of Chinese veggie possibilities, and be able to prepare exactly what some of these NYC restaurants serve.