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Jan 10, 2007 07:01 PM

Szechuan Tofu?

I travelled a lot last year in Szechuan province and had tons and tons and tons of delicious tofu. Where can I find delicious, creamy fresh tofu in L.A.? I haven't found any spicy chinese tofu that is remotely authentic.

Besides the (very good) Korean soon tofus in town, the only experience that approximates my China experience is the fresh tofu at the Japanese place in Santa MOnica, Musha.

Any thoughts?

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  1. You might like Vinh Loi tofu factory and restaurant, although it's Vietnamese not Sichuanese. Someone posted on it a few months ago. Unfortunately, it seems to be vegetarian, but the LAT review says it's still worth driving across town for. I haven't done it, though... Reseda is FAR.

    1. You can try V K Food Products in Rosemead (they make tofu). They're Vietnamese-Chinese, so I don't know if they have spicy tofu. They have different types of tofu products (regular, deep-fried, dessert).

      V K Food Products
      9210 Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA
      (626) 288-1001

      1. Are you looking for restaurants that serve tofu dishes in the sichuan style or markets that sell fresh tofu?

        On the restaurant front, I'm partial to Chung King. The new location, on San Gabriel Valley Blvd, has a great dish of tofu gan with green onion. Not spicy but delicious. They also make excellent ma po tofu.

        On the market front, there is a tofu making shop on South Garfield. I can't recall the name, but I think it's a Vietnamese place, about 1.5 miles south of the 10, on the west side of the street.

        Good luck.

        14 Replies
        1. re: banjoboy

          The tofu shop you're reffering to sounds like VP Tofu.

          237 S Garfield Ave
          Monterey Park, CA 91754
          (626) 572-9930

          Ching King's tofu hot pot may be what svonkie's looking for. The old Monterey Park location is just a few doors down from VP Tofu.

          1. re: mpken

            Drove by VP Tofu a couple of weeks ago and they seemed to be closed. Don't know if they were just closed for the holidays or if it was permanent.

            1. re: mpken

              Just a note, the old Monterey Park location of Chung King is not related to the new San Gabriel operation.

              1. re: sel

                True, but the menu hasn't changed since changing hands. The food is not as sharp as before, but good nonetheless. We ate at the San Gabriel location recently and didn't find the need to drive the extra distance for the dishes we usually order. Prices are a bit higher at the San Gabriel Chung King, but the interior is WAY nicer. Still BYOB at some tables.

            2. re: banjoboy

              If you ask, they'll also make the "water boiled" dish with sliced pressed bean curd instead of beef. Terrific, and killer spicy.

              1. re: banjoboy

                is this authentic ma po dofu? I've been to places that put peas and carrots in theirs. gross. just wondering. thanks!

                1. re: M_in_OC

                  I'm just wondering - what is the proper / authentic way for Ma Po Tofu to be prepared, and is this the same thing as Szeschwan Tofu? I've tried Ma Po at about five different restaraunts, and overall its one of my favorite dishes, but between these five or so places the preparation is very inconsistent. Its always got tofu in it and its always spicy, but beyond that it seems very varied - a) once place had big chunks of meat, while some other places list it in the vegiterian section of their menu while others do not but theirs does not have any apparent meat b) some places use a red sauce, others a brown sauce c) vegatable content seems to vary - at some places a lot of stuff like carrots and baby corn even while at other places it seems to be maily onion adn waterchessnuts d) usually the tofu seems steamed / boiled, but occasionaly its arrived with fried tofu e) at one place, it had a very distinct roasted flavor. So how is it *really* supposed to be prepared?

                  1. re: Marvin

                    I'm sure there could be a healthy debate on the "true" mapo tofu. The home recipe that I've relied on is in Fuschia Dunlop's book on Sichuan food, Land of Plenty. Check it out. It's a terrific book.

                    1. re: banjoboy

                      The recipe in Fuschia Dunlop's is AWESOME. I couldn't believe it came out of my kitchen. Way more involved than other recipes I've tried, but it really captures the complexity of flavors and feelings that I've had eating at Chung King. Highly agree with "banjoboy".

                      The final dusting of the dish with ground Szechuan pepper corns is the 'coup de gras'.

                      1. re: mpken

                        I have several links to Fuscia Dunlop's Sichuan (and some other) recipes. I could post them on the Home Cooking Board if anyone would like them. Her Ma Po Dofu is one of the recipes that is linked.

                        1. re: sel

                          Please do post them! I just made my first successful mapo dofu the other day. Pretty exciting! Want to try others.

                    2. re: Marvin

                      traditional ma po dofu has no veggies. it is ground pork, fermented black beans, garlic, hot peppers, and bean paste. it's my favorite. my mom (she's from sichuan provence) used to make it all the time. mine doesn't come out as well so I like to try places that have it.

                      1. re: M_in_OC

                        Great, thanks M! I just wish that restaraunts were more consistent with it so I could have confidence in what I'm ordering.

                        1. re: Marvin

                          Mapodofu is just one of those things that everybody makes differently, like pad thai or chili. I've had good MPDF loaded with red bell pepper, leeks, shiitake mushrooms, wood-ear fungus, and preserved turnip, and I've had good MPDF that was little more than tofu in red oil. It's a sichuan dish, but many non-sichuan restaurants make it too, and their way of doing it is another whole set of variations.

                          FWIW, the most stripped-down minimalist version of MPDF I've found around here is at Ding's Restaurant (Garfield and Garvey).

                2. The "water boiled" dishes are a separate thing from mapo tofu, which is not "water boiled." (By the way, "water boiled" dishes are NOT boiled in water, which is why ladelfa and I are both using quotes.)

                  In any case, I think that the mapo tofu and the water boiled dishes at Chung King would all qualify as authentic. There are CERTAINLY no peas or carrots to be found.

                  Give Chung King a try. Personally, I prefer the location on SGV Blvd to the location on Garfield. This has been debated on chowhound in the past.

                  1. Try Fortune Bistro in San Gabriel, just opened up about a month ago.

                    Fortune Bistro
                    545 W. Las Tunas Dr.
                    San Gabriel