I feel like there needs to be more acknowledgment of asian cuisine’s many contributions to modern day vegan staples
I'm pretty new to the world of veganism and I've been reading a lot of recipe blogs/vegan subreddit posts (been lurking here a long time!) and vegan bloggers. And lately I've been feeling…some kind of way about all of the references to tofu, seitan, dairy substitutes, and other mock meats.
Whenever a classic vegan substitute comes up, they're always like "we know tofu is weird, but if you wring all the moisture out of it and deep fry it for 3 hours we promise you'll love it!!" or "seitan is a funny sounding word and it looks wrinkly and ugly but it's a GREAT SOURCE OF PROTEIN" or some other kind of statement with a million pleading caveats and acknowledgments. It's as if the subtext is, hey look at these wacky foods! Sorry they're kinda strange, but isn't it great that someone invented these so we vegans can have protein! And it's like but wait, I literally grew up eating this stuff, it's not exotic or weird. The first dairy free milk that I can remember hitting mainstream supermarket shelves was soy milk, which is like a staple of Asian family households!! (shout out to the 80% of us who can't digest lactose, we out here 😔🤘) Like these foods weren't created just for people who are vegan, literally billions of people incorporate them into their everyday omnivorous diets. I legit used to eat tofu stir fried with beef. I almost don't like the term "vegan substitute" for these foods, bc for me, they were just…regular foods. It feels like a major part of my cultural diet has been co-opted by (mostly white) people who are documenting their ✨plant-based journey✨. On the one hand, I'm glad that these foods are making their way onto more plates, but on the other hand, I wish more credit was given to the major Asian influences on modern-day veganism.
To be clear, this problem is wayyy worse outside of the vegan community. And the sites I've been getting these recipes from are definitely heavy into the h e l t h aspect and light on activism. But I almost expect that from meat eaters because their dietary perspective is still more limited. I feel like vegans should know better, especially since veganism is so much more than a diet, it's about decolonizing food and making it as equitable as possible.
PS for context I'm Asian-American, born/grew up in states, parents both immigrants from east asia.
Edit: I initially wrote this post from the viewpoint of someone who grew up in an asian household, but as many commenters rightfully pointed out, this is in no way limited to Asian foods. Many cuisines from around the globe have contributed hugely to modern veganism and are similarly not credited as they should be by said bloggers/individuals.