Temple food: Shojin Ryori

© EunYoung Sebazco

I went to a lecture “Shojin Ryori: Zen Cuisine for Body and Mind” at the Japan Society last night. I was able to learn about Japanese Buddhist cuisine. I am a vegetarian, but I also truly believe the same concepts of temple food in which they use. When I was young, my grandmother took me to the (Korean) Buddhist temple every weekend. It wasn’t a lot of fun sitting for the long chanting (that lasted hours) but, it was rewarding to watch the preparation of food and then have lunch with everyone. I still do remember the taste of rice and the fresh vegetable side dishes. It was excellent. In Korea, the temple food belief is that seasonal vegetables contain abundant natural nutrients and also matches the physical structure of humans. I was really glad that I was able to join in to taste Shojin Ryori. Chef Toshio Tanahashi said that you don’t make the flavor, you do draw out the flavor from ingredients and find their depth. Yes, exactly!!

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