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Neighborhood tofu: A short practical tour

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somethingfunny

Thanks for taking the time

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abcdefg

You're welcome @somethingfunny.

 

Should probably clarify that I'm not really a tofu evangelist or tofu fanatic. It is just interesting to me as something that one comes in contact with in China that isn't as common in the west. 

 

Passed by the dried tofu snack rack in Walmart a block from my home recently. Saw 50 or 60 different kinds for sale. How many do you usually see in your neighborhood store back in New York or London? Probably not quite that many.

 

I can tell you for sure these are not as popular in Dallas. Bubba is not fond of munching tofu as he rolls down Interstate-10 in his crew-cab Chevy Silverado wearing that tall gray beaver Stetson, lever-action Winchester in the gun rack.

 

1075280239_IMG_20180808_110050-50.thumb.jpg.674fd56ee491b4b3ca1e5468e82aacf7.jpg  1125008463_IMG_20180808_110057-50.thumb.jpg.eea9be3ddc66224cef11d98e2af31ea7.jpg

 

 

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amytheorangutan

Wow! The wonderful world of tofu! Thank you for the very interesting post. I have never tried hairy tofu before. Wonder what they taste like. 豆 made into dessert is one of my favourites with ginger sugar syrup and sometimes with cooked peanuts 🤤

 

 

4833AA97-8B67-411A-A287-260A518E79F1.jpeg

D172AD87-82ED-4EE2-A1F0-4552E2271C79.jpeg

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abcdefg

Yes, yes, yes, Amy. That is delicious! I make it with toasted almond slices instead of the peanuts. So refreshing in the summer. Your photos make me want some right now.

 

Tofu works well in sweet dishes as well as in savory ones. 

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Luxi
6 hours ago, abcdefg said:

another vendor's hairy tofu. Some days it's more photogenic than others.

So it has 'bad hair days', who would have thought!

 

Thanks so much for this introduction to Tofu, it's nicely put together and very helpful.  If I didn't like tofu already, I would now.

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abcdefg
1 hour ago, Luxi said:

So it has 'bad hair days', who would have thought!

 

Haha! I guess that's a good way to put it!

 

It's fragile. The sellers often keep hairy tofu partly covered so it won't dry out. It always looks better early in the morning. Sometimes they pickle chunks of it in a spicy vinegar sauce, turning it into a pungent condiment, the consistency of cream cheese. That is called 卤腐 here and 腐乳 in other parts of China. Delicious smeared on a steamed hot bun 馒头。

  

718793818_IMG_20180807_091129-50.thumb.jpg.50bdb281ce8bdbb24e9e072af094a901.jpg   1636183825_IMG_20180606_095924_1--55.thumb.jpg.846b63e1f1ab4164a8008f501eb32877.jpg

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Shelley

Thank you, excellent, the wonderful world of tofu.

 

Why is hairy tofu called hairy, is it hairy? Makes it sound like its got mould growing on it with hairy bits as you sometimes get on mouldy cheese or bread.

 

I have to draw a comparison to cheese again because it is made by causing it to curdle with acid or rennet, it can be soft or hard, squeezed flat, shaped into blocks, and eaten as a savoury, sweet, as a snack or main meal. 

I know it is not like cheese in taste or use, but it seems to contain many of the same processes and forms.

 

I think that China discovered tofu before cheese and never bother to apply the same actions to cow, buffalo, goat etc milk and concentrated on using soy milk.

 

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abcdefg
2 hours ago, Shelley said:

Why is hairy tofu called hairy, is it hairy? Makes it sound like its got mould growing on it with hairy bits as you sometimes get on mouldy cheese or bread.

 

It is hairy; covered in an exuberant, finely filamentous, off-white color mold. Lends it a distinctive flavor that is sort of an acquired taste. Some days it's easy to see at a glance and other times it requires closer inspection. Here are a couple of photos clipped from the Chinese internet that make the appearance more clear. 

 

1271085079_hair2-60.thumb.PNG.27473011f861a09883fbfdd911e6bec0.PNG1783561180_hair3-60.thumb.PNG.db8e8f0a2c15a34a42ead30e427a4cac.PNG

 

You're right about there being similarities between tofu production and cheese production, no doubt about it. Cheese is not very popular here in China, though Yunnan makes some good ones both from cow's milk and goat's milk. Here's a little about it:

 

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/56709-improving-a-classic-火腿蒸乳饼-steamed-yunnan-ham-and-white-mountain-cheese/?tab=comments#comment-439007 

 

You might like to give tofu a try sometime. It's easy to like. 

 

 

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vellocet
On 8/10/2018 at 8:42 AM, abcdefg said:

It goes without saying that other types can be found in supermarkets, the result of rigidly standardized large-scale industrial processes. These are nicely wrapped and have ingredients and expiration dates listed on the package. But they often come with flavor enhancers, preservatives, stabilizers, and coloring agents to make them sell better. My 老百姓 neighbors eschew them as "factory food," and find their way to the wet market to buy the "real stuff" instead. 

 

So instead of eating food made in sanitary conditions with regular health inspections, what's better is the "real stuff" is made in backyards by people who have never had any health standards training and don't even wash their hands before starting.

 

On 8/10/2018 at 1:49 PM, abcdefg said:

I can tell you for sure these are not as popular in Dallas. Bubba is not fond of munching tofu as he rolls down Interstate-10 in his crew-cab Chevy Silverado wearing that tall gray beaver Stetson, lever-action Winchester in the gun rack.

 

Wow, that came out of nowhere, didn't it?  A casual classist slur, nice. 

 

You mean people from wildly different cultures aren't fond of weird foods?  Pray tell, how much BBQ brisket or fajitas do the 老百姓 eat on a daily basis?  

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abcdefg

@vellocet -- Sounds like that hit kind of close to home. Did not intend to step on your toes. 

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vellocet
On 8/12/2018 at 8:49 PM, abcdefg said:

Did not intend to step on your toes. 

 

Me?  No, I don't drive a truck nor wear a Stetson.  But why the bigoted slur against the working class?  I'm baffled. 

 

You don't punch down.  You never punch down.  Why attack powerless people when there are powerful people that could be targeted with that abuse instead?  Please see: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2014/07/21/never-punch-down/

 

"Punching down is a concept in which you’re assumed to have a measurable level of power and you’re looking for a fight. Now, you can either go after the big guy who might hurt you, or go after the little guy who has absolutely no shot. Either way, you’ve picked a fight, but one fight is remarkably more noble and worthwhile than the other. Going after the big guy, punching up, is an act of nobility. Going after the little guy, punching down, is an act of bullying."

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abcdefg

Go make a fuss somewhere else, I have no interest in arguing with you. 

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Bibu

Exellent tofu intro, sounds the wet market is a huge one, have a tofu row ...

 

normal market has 2 or 3 tofu vendor plus 2 or 3 豆腐制品 vendor, that is a sizable one already.

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abcdefg

Thanks @Bibu -- That market is a really good one. It's not huge, but does have lots of vendors. It's a pleasure to go there, and fortunately it's just under 10 minutes away from my home by bike. 

 

This is from another small market, a couple blocks in the other direction. It is all street-side, has one meat stall, three vegetable sellers, some carts with fruit and one tofu lady. But even there one can find a pretty decent selection.

 

807728102_IMG_20180807_132919-tofu-50.thumb.jpg.5b6e30d97fd5b92ba56ebe64884cd581.jpg

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vellocet
3 hours ago, abcdefg said:

Go make a fuss somewhere else, I have no interest in arguing with you. 

 

Stop being a bigot in public and I'll stop telling you you're doing it.  Fill in the blank:

 

_______  is a feeling towards a person or group member based solely on that person's group membership. The word is often used to refer to preconceived, usually unfavorable, feelings towards people or a person because of their sex, gender, beliefs, values, social class, age, disability, religion, sexuality, race/ethnicity, language, nationality, beauty, occupation, education, criminality, sport team affiliation or other personal characteristics. In this case, it refers to a positive or negative evaluation of another person based on that person's perceived group membership.

 

Spoiler

Bigotry

 

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amytheorangutan

I wonder if the white fuzz in hairy tofu is similar to the white fuzz in tempeh 🤔 

1EFA201B-2C11-435D-8BF8-1B72FFFD65D1.jpeg

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abcdefg

I think it is, Amy. 

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roddy

@Vellocet.... it's not interesting. Hush. Or go start a new topic that'll be easier to ignore.

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Bibu

@amytheorangutan  could you reveal where this pic taken? never seem a tofu like this before, it looks  like dim sum made of peanuts and candy...

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