So, there's an Asian restaurant within walking distance of my apartment that serves this Vietnamese char grill bowl, which consists of rice noodles, grilled tofu, cucumber, lettuce, bean sprouts, tomatoes, and a chili-lime sauce. The tofu in this bowl sets it far above similar dishes served at many other Asian restaurants. It is charred to perfection and has a smoky, sweet flavor. There's just one problem: I recently found out they put fish sauce in that shit, and apparently cannot make it without. Really, it's my fault for not checking sooner, but when I learned this I was devastated - for about two minutes. Then I was simply inspired to make my own.
I marinated the tofu in soy sauce, mirin, maple syrup, a tiny bit of sesame oil, and crushed garlic, and then grilled the shit out of it. The chili lime sauce consisted of sweet chili sauce, lime juice, and fresh mint. I included the same veggies that are in the original dish, and it was perfection: every bit as good as the restaurant version, and certainly better for the fish, the ocean, and my conscience. I can definitely see it becoming a regular in my kitchen.
This was fairly easy to recreate at home, but it can be frustrating to learn that a favorite food contains animal products. However, one of the many things I love about veganism is the ingenuity it catalyzes. Sometimes you are forced to take matters into your own hands and into your own kitchen, and the result is often far more satisfying when it is a product of your own culinary toil and, of course, is cruelty free.