I'm here to set the record straight: tofu is emphatically not a meat substitute. It's an ingredient in its own right, and a delicious one at that! Indeed, in many traditional Chinese and Japanese dishes, it's prepared together with meat in a single dish. I grew up on the sweet-and-salty, heavy-on-the-beef version of Mapo Dofu that my mom used to make for us, sometimes with her own seasoning, but often just thrown together from a packet. When paired with her handmade beef dumplings, it was far and away my favorite meal.