Most Taoists in Malaysia will be currently celebrating the Nine Emperor God festival. The festival is celebrated by by all Taoists around the world on the ninth day of the ninth month in the Chinese calender. The Nine Emperor Gods festival or Kow Ong Yah as it is called in Hokkien signifies the return from heaven to earth of the Nine Emperor spirits whom are associated to health, wealth and prosperity. It is claimed that during this festival there will be rain throughout the 9 days of celebration. Well..almost. It rained for the first 6 days in Penang and as mysterious as it is, the tap suddenly went dry today.
Another interesting aspect about the Nine Emperor God festival is that all devotees need to observe a strict vegetarian diet for nine days. This means no meat or meat related products as well as dairy products such as eggs or milk. For those devotees who follow strictly by the book, they even have to use special cooking and eating utensils to prevent contamination with meat or meat related products. While it is encouraged to do the whole nine yards, a lot of Taoists now only observe vegetarian for the 1, 2, 3,5 and 9 days.
I was at Madras Lane this morning to catch the celebration in full swing. Vegetarian stalls these days offer a lot of variety of dishes of which some look and even taste like meat. I took a couple of shots of this stall as they had the most selection of vegetarian dishes to offer.
Just to see how it taste like, I ordered some rice followed by 2 pieces of vegetarian fish, char siew and some vegetables. They tasted quite nice although the texture definitely isn't the same as the real deal. It's also a lot more expensive than eating your usual economy rice as most vegetarian vendors are trying to rake in as much profit as they can during the nine days celebration.
I like the vegetarian roasted duck except that they tend to be too oily. I realise that those food that are bad for your health always taste so much better.
There is even a vegetarian satay stall catering to those who miss their daily diet of chicken satay. It tastes very much like real satay although it is made of vegetarian ingredients.
I even saw a vegetarian goreng pisang stall up ahead. Hmm. I wonder if this is comparable to the one at Free School Road.
As I walked further up the end of Madras Lane, I caught a couple of stalls selling vegetarian snacks and desserts like curry puffs, char siew pau, pork floss bun, pizza, sesame ball and many more.
Honestly, I like to believe I can go vegetarian the whole day but I'm already starting to hear my stomach growling and protesting at me. It's a good thing that rules are meant to be broken as I am definitely going straight to the nearest McDonald's outlet for dinner tonight.