Published: April 7th 2012March 20th 2012
Tofu Case at the Market
Look at all those choices! And all are under a dollar!
Cooking with tofu in China is differnt than cooking with tofu in the US. For one thing, there are more kinds of tofu to choose from. For another, people here consider tofu a staple of any diet, so it's affordable and there are lots of ingredients readily available that work well with tofu. And because people here are used to eating it and liking it, there are no stigmas about tofu within the culture. (At least, not that I know of.)
As a vegetarian I eat tofu a lot. I didn't in the US because I didn't know how to prepare the white, slimy, mushy stuff that you get in most health food sections. But after living here and experiencing the diversity, I've become much more comfortable cooking with it.
I finally decided to learn what all the types are called, or at least the names of the ones I buy at the butcher counter. There are two kinds I cook with the most. One of them is fried tofu, and looks like little sponges. These are great in soups. I also like what they call dry tofu, even though it's not really dry. All the moisture has been
pressed out of it and the outside is brown, not white. It has a good, meaty texture to it and holds its shape well when cooking. I put this in just about everything. Both absorb flavors easily.
The best part of cooking with tofu is the price. I can buy 10 squares of the dried tofu for about half a USD. The fried tofu is a bit more expensive, but still usually costs less than a dollar for a full pot of stew.
There are more photos below