There's a certain uniformity to chip shop fare: along with the grimness that is deep fried meat and fish, there's the sweaty joy of chips fried to death in cheap oil, and served with a choice of bread, pickled onions, gherkins (also known as wallys, for reasons I don't know, and am pretty terrified to find out) and other ephemera to go with it. There's also gravy, which is something of a controversial subject: those in the north of England think this a fit sauce to crown their chips, those in the south would probably go to war over such a thing. Though a southerner, I went native after a few years in the north and am quite convinced stuffing handfuls of greasy chips into a cheap white bun and topping with thick (vegan) gravy is the dinner
Chip shops are actually not terrible for vegans: a lot don't cook their chips in the same oil as the meat bits, though looking at the jars of cockles in brine which bear more than a passing resemblance to science experiments may not a great appetite make.
Anyway, if it's your bag, there are a few good vegan fish substitutes out there - Redwood does good fishless fingers, and fish-free steaks that are a bit too close to what I remember the real thing being like.
I'm sorry, non-UK readers, I can't explain mushy peas to you. They're just weird. They're processed peas cooked down into an unholy green slop, with not much taste to speak of. But they are traditional, so dammit, they're making an appearance!
Thankfully, the Asian mushy peas in the recipe were delicious, given loads of flavour with mint, chilli, shallot and lemon. My attempts at battered tofu weren't overly successful – the batter divorced from the tofu when introduced to the oil, and resolutely paired with the bottom of the pan (it took much determination and washing up liquid to shift it.) But once I stuck the forlorn tofu into the oven with the chips I was baking, it perked up.
Not one element of the recipe was traditional, but it was all gorgeous: the flavourful mushy peas (this may be the first time in history that phrase has been said), the crispy baked chips, and the tofu stuffed with shiitakes and ginger. This one's definitely a keeper.