Tofu: Asia's healthy cheese

Tofu for breakfast, lunch and dinner is a vegan’s delight. This the western perception anyway. In Asia, tofu or beancurd forms a staple food for many Asian families. Not just known as a substitute for meat or cheese, the humble soy bean is deliciously versatile. We explored more about this continental treasure. 

The successful history

Made from soy beans, tofu or beancurd originated from China and sprouted its way into the cooking pots of other Asian and even Western cuisines over the years. The variety in form and texture of tofu has made it a well-rounded ingredient that entices many, however diverse their preferences are. As of recent years, the high nutritional value (and to the delight of many people, the low calories value) of tofu has further boost its popularity, making this ingredient worthy of being called – the Asian cheese.

Recipes we like

As nice as a big glossy cookbook is, the reality is we just don’t cook at home in Hong Kong. But on a weekend in summer, when you’re trapped inside with a typhoon 5, it may be a good time to try out some recipes and make use of that dusty wok hiding in your kitchen.

The spiciness of Sichuan cuisine is always a tempting choice in summer days when the stuffy weather dampens appetite. It is the perfect time for Ma Po Do Fu . Nothing’s nicer than than swirling a cooling dessert on a midsummer night. Try this pudding alternative called Almond Tofu , or if you prefer going after traditions, tofu jelly or uncongealed tofu is not to be missed .

Tofu restaurants for adventurous foodies

For those who wish to go on a tofu hunt in Hong Kong, be prepared for a journey blended with local delights and fusion surprises. 

Checkpoint no. 1 is for the bold-hearted who would not be deterred by the name – “Stinky” Tofu (Fermented Tofu). Far from being a yucky snack, this deep-fried fermented tofu is a renowned street food found everywhere in China. The strong smell has been what attracts or repulses both fans and foes. Most commonly found in Taiwan, this tofu frequents local eateries and dai pai dongs.

Checkpoint no. 2 takes us to the unique southerner choice – Chiuchow cuisine. Marinated tofu is the best friend of many marinated Chiuchow foods such as goose and octopus. Try Chan Kan Kee Chiu Chow Restaurant in Sheung Wan: 11 Queen’s Road West.  

Checkpoint no. 3 would definitely attract the trendsetters who go for fusion surprises like tofu cheesecake, which can be found on the secluded island paradise of Lamma Island. Try Shelley Cake Express , or if you prefer staying in the heart of the city, tofu ice cream can be found at Orchard Garden Café & Restaurant .

In the news

This week there’s been much fuss over this Bamboo Charcoal Black Tofu Pudding in Taiwan. Are you a fan?