''Hmmmm-HMMMMM,'' mumbled the Buddhist monk as he chomped into his Triple-Pattie Jumbo Beef Burger with extra-crispy bacon strips and spicy chipotle mayo, ''now I know why people are always smiling in burger ads! This is deeeeeeee-licious!''
His monk colleagues all nodded in agreement, chowing down on their Mighty Enlightened CheeseBurgers, Tibetan Tuna-Fillet Snack-Wraps and Spicy Stefanovics (one with the lot. Ahhh, now we get it! Haw haw, that Karl dude is fun-NNNY).
Big Buddha's Burger Bar was doing a roaring trade. It had been open for only a month, but monks were queueing around the block for a taste of non-murder, spiritually ethical slabs of minced stem-cell tissue, served on a sesame seed bun.
Made from artificial lab-grown meat, these new Petri-patties were juicy morsels of morality - they caused no suffering or cruelty to any living creature, unless you were the living creature sitting beside Venerable Monk Luang Phi, who had ordered the Rancho Mexicana Burrito Burger.
And there was a scrumptious variety of fake-flesh options on the menu, including beef, chicken, fish, lamb, camel, dugong and, for a short time only, the Dalai-Lama Llama-Deluxe (with a condiment-choice of Transcendental Tartare or Siddhartha Salsa).
Around the corner, equally large numbers were gathered inside Krishna Fried Chicken of Consciousness (with the huge multi-armed Vishnu figure out the front, each hand holding a chicken drumstick, except for the hand holding a tub of signature Lentils'n'Gravy.)
KFCC offered a mouth-watering range of non-violent, vegan-permissible, lab-poultry meal-deals - no animal harmed, no blood spilt, no icky tofu aftertaste!
Hundreds of anaemic protein-starved Hare Krishnas stood at the front counter, chanting their holy mantra, ''Krishna Krishna, chicken Krishna, Krishna chicken, chicken crispy'' because if they chanted it in under 10 seconds they got a free six-pack of Hari Rama tenderloins.
It was a festive, joyous, finger-licking atmosphere, a great procession of people dancing around the napkin and straw dispenser, drumming on empty 12-piece KFCC-buckets, and performing acts of self-purification by wiping fake-chicken-grease from their lips with self-purification wipes.
Directly across the road at Halal Hog Heaven, it was Wednesday Pig-On-A-Spit Night.
Muslims crowded around an enormous test-tube pig made entirely from in-vitro plant proteins, while an Islamic cleric carved chunks from its Koran-permissible carcass, yelling ''WHO WANTS A SLICE FROM THE SNOUT? IT'S PORK-TASTIC!'' And dining next door in peaceful co-existence, Orthodox Jews were packed into The Hog's Breath Kosher Cafe, filling their plates at the Pre-Paid All-You-Can-Eat Buffet, grabbing FLTs (Fake-bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches), and synthetic prawns, lightly seasoned with pepper, lemon, and computer algorithms. ''For more than 3000 years we deprived ourselves of this scrumptiousness and for WHAT? Look at me, Shlomo, I'm eating an unclean bottom-feeding crustacean! That's $3500 well spent!''
Across the city, vegetarian and carnivore, God-believer and atheist, PETA-advocate and blood-lusting slaughterhouse foreman ate side by side in guilt-free, meat-gnawing ecstasy.
Even the more exotic tastes were catered for, the upmarket Imitation Safari Grill specialising in fall-off-the-bone white baby-rhino back-ribs, served with crunchy toe-fries from a three-toed sloth, and smothered in a Hooded Plover sofrito (with a house salad, for greens).
And down the little laneway where no one goes, the creepy Soylent Inn was the place to go for biologically engineered cell-tissue designed to resemble a freshly scalped human face, for the compassionate, community-minded cannibal.
Only one eatery was empty: the abandoned place up on the hill, with the newspapered windows and the ''out of business'' door-sign swinging in the bitter wind. The McDonald's in Tecoma. It just never really took off.