Starting the Change with Our Diet: Tzu Chi University Organizes a Vegetarian Cuisine Tasting Event


The Jing Si Creative Cuisine Tasting Event, highly awaited and making a return after three years, is stirring excitement and long queues. Hosted by the Office of Humanistic Culture at the University, the event sees a collaborative effort with Tzu Chi volunteers from Hualien, known for their dedication to promoting humanistic values. Together, they have meticulously prepared ten exquisite vegetarian dishes, specifically for the faculty, staff, and students. This gastronomic affair stands as a symbol of how altering our food habits can be a step towards global change.

As the event commenced, 23 volunteers began serving dishes, receiving warm applause and appreciation from the attendees. Ms. Cheng-Shiao Chu took the stage to introduce the ten vegetarian dishes. She explained that these dishes were crafted using Jing Si products, developed with care by the dharma masters at Jing Si Abode. The dishes represented a harmonious blend of Jing Si products and fresh vegetables, each bite embodying the team’s commitment and love. Additionally, Ms. Chu encouraged the audience to explore online resources for recipes and tips on preparing delightful vegetarian meals.

Vice President Yun-Chi Ho of Tzu Chi University expressed heartfelt thanks to the volunteers for their commitment in preparing a delightful vegetarian lunch. She conveyed her wish that as faculty, staff, and students enjoyed the meal, they would embody feelings of “gratitude, respect, and love” towards the volunteers who began their preparations early in the morning. Her vision extended beyond the meal, hoping that by sharing this vegetarian experience, all participants─faculty, staff, and students─would unite in expressing their best wishes and prayers for global peace.

“This cold marinated black fungus is surprisingly sweet and sour, making me a fan even though I didn’t like black fungus before!” “The cucumbers with mustard are perfect with rice, absolutely delicious!” “These fried rice noodles bring back the taste of home cooking!” “The soup is rich and hearty, packed with ingredients and tastes even better than what you find elsewhere.” At noon, a communal atmosphere prevailed as everyone gathered for the meal, with colleagues making plans to meet and students inviting each other, all contributing to a feeling reminiscent of a lunchtime reunion.

Li-Rong Sun, a student of Chinese medicine, commented, “It’s wonderful to have the chance to eat more vegetarian meals. I frequently dine at the school’s cafeteria or at vegetarian restaurants outside of campus. The vegetarian dishes today were especially refreshing, and the volunteers were generous with their servings, which made us feel truly appreciated.” Zi-Yi Lu from the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Biotechnology remarked, “My experience with vegetarian food began after joining Tzu Chi University. The turmeric fried rice stood out for me, and I’m eager to try cooking it myself when I have the opportunity.”

Dedicated to providing a bountiful meal for attendees, the volunteers invested two days in purchasing and preparing the ingredients. The Ten Herbs Soup, particularly beloved by faculty, staff, and students, was not just a blend of ten different herbs but also included Jing Si’s products like golden burdock slices, cashews, shredded kelp, dried shiitake mushrooms, and aged ginger. These components were pre-cooked and soaked overnight, ensuring that each ingredient was thoroughly infused with the rich, flavorful broth.

Besides the delightful cuisine, staff of the Office of Humanistic Culture further enriched the event by inviting participants to take the stage and showcase their singing talents. Attendees, including faculty, staff, and students, expressed their heartfelt thanks to the Office for arranging the vegetarian tasting event, particularly after challenges posed by the pandemic. They relished the opportunity to enjoy a healthy and joyous lunch together and gained valuable insights into various vegetarian cooking techniques, eagerly anticipating sharing these new culinary skills with their families.