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Your Favorite Tofu

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Ok, I admit it, I love tofu. There is nothing better than a bubbling stone pot of kimchi chigae with chunks of steaming silken tofu and pork belly on a cold afternoon.

What tofu dishes do you love in LA (and the SFV)?

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  1. 1) the PURE TOFU that is served at Musha in santa monica
    and
    2) any of the tofu dishes served at vinh loi tofu in reseda
    18625 Sherman Way
    Reseda, CA 91335-4180
    (818) 996-9779

    -----
    Musha
    1725 W Carson St, Torrance, CA 90501

    1. Izakaya Bincho's agedashi tofu and ricotta cheese tofu.

      VP Tofu's hot and cold pandan or black sesame tofu puddings - their tofu milks are super fresh as well. No place to sit but your car... :)

      Sea Harbour's steamed egg tofu with scallops.

      VP Tofu
      237 S. Garfield Ave
      Monterey Park, CA 91754
      626-572-9930

      -----
      Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant
      3939 N. Rosemead Blvd., Rosemead, CA 91770, USA

      Izakaya Bincho
      112 N International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

      3 Replies
      1. re: bulavinaka

        Nthing VP tofu. Fried tofu with wood-ear mushroom and glass noodles is one of my favorites. All their soy milk and the various puddings and doufu hua are also good.

        Also seconding the pure tofu at Musha.

        -----
        Musha
        424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

        1. re: will47

          VP Tofu's fried tofu with "wild fungus" is another good one...and reminds me that I need to check out more of their offerings.

          1. re: JThur01

            have you ever tried vk tofu in rosemead? does it compare?

      2. Stinky tofu at Mama's Kitchen, with a close second being the same dish at Won Won Kitchen.

        -----
        Won Won Kitchen
        9461 Las Tunas Dr, Temple City, CA 91780

        Mama's Kitchen
        1718 New Ave, San Gabriel, CA 91776

        1. Rice Cakes with Crispy Scallion Tofu at Good Girl Dinette in Highland Park

          -----
          Good Girl Dinette
          110 North Avenue 56, Los Angeles, CA 90042

          1. I love the egg tofu dishes at many of the Chinese restaurants, which are usually, but not always totally vegetarian, too. I particularly like the versions with the brown skin--I've never been able to figure out how to replicate that at home. Egg tofu is sold in tubes, then sliced into the shape of a fat checker. The trouble is that there is no uniform name for this dish. Strangely, the best version is at Golden Dragon in Chinatown, where I think it's called house special tofu. It's also called house special tofu at Golden City in Chinatown, but I think it was merely tofu with dried scallop at J R Bistro in Chinatown. On the other hand at Lunasia in Alhambra it was called double braised tofu with egg white, which I believe is a misnomer because egg tofu is made with tofu plus whole egg.

            -----
            J R Cafe
            512 W Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

            1. Deep Fried Tofu Cubes with a small piece of shrimp inserted then dipped in some kind of soy sauce blend. Almost all chinese restaurants have this in their menu except some may not have the shrimp in it.

              1. The hot braised tofu at City Wok in Studio City is fantastic. Make sure to get the tofu steamed and not fried.

                -----
                City Wok
                10949 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

                1. Urasawa:

                  Hiro-san's silky housemade goma tofu (sesame tofu) with Hokkaido uni inside, garnished with spring vegetables.

                  -----
                  Urasawa Restaurant
                  218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                  1. Just finished a bowl of the #3 Kim Che tofu, extra hot, at Beverly Soon Tofu. Awesome!

                    -----
                    Beverly Soon Tofu Restaurant
                    2717 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                    1. oooh, any recs for a good mapo tofu? the one i make is still the best. ;)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: raizans

                        The one at Chun King in SGV is outstanding.

                      2. I second the tofu choices at Musha in Santa Monica, but prefer their Seafood Soon Tofu. Korean recipe made Japanese style - lighter, less spicy, and silky smooth and fragrant,

                        -----
                        Musha
                        424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                        1. I love the sprouted tofu from Fresh and Easy. I stirfry for bkfst w/walnuts, apples, cinnamon and s.f maple syrup! In a shop: The tofu w/special sauce from Elite's dim sum menu is amazing!

                          1. Agedashi tofu at Yatai on the Sunset Strip (I know, can you believe it?).

                            Dou fu faa from 888.

                            The knotted tofu "noodles" from Ji Rong next to 888.

                            The entire menu at Vinh Loi, not to mention pretty much any kind of tofu from Dong Phuong.

                            Any tofu dish from Daichan in Studio City.

                            Soon dubu jjigae from Beverly Tofu House or its accomplice in tofu-related obsession, Sokongdong across the street.

                            -----
                            Ji Rong Restaurant
                            8450 Valley Blvd Ste 115, Rosemead, CA 91770

                            Daichan
                            11288 Ventura Blvd Ste F, Studio City, CA 91604

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                              Thanks for reminding me about Ji Rong, DU...

                              Man, it's been too long since I've been there...

                              -----
                              Ji Rong Restaurant
                              8450 Valley Blvd Ste 115, Rosemead, CA 91770

                              1. re: J.L.

                                I don't think I've ever enjoyed anything at Ji Rong.

                                Maybe one or two select dishes at the most, none of which immediately come to mind.

                              2. re: Das Ubergeek

                                Good call on Yatai - had it last night, DU. Simple and good...thanks.

                              3. I do not particularly like tofu, though I will eat the sweet creamy kind with ginger syrup for the flavors, forgiving the consistency... BUT! I adore the deepfried tofu cubes at Har Lam Kee. And I don't have a clue why. They got no flavor worth speaking of, just a pleasant fried-tasting crunch with nondescript goo inside. It must be a visceral thing, because it punches none of my usual gustatory hot buttons. But I can't NOT order them, nor stop eating them. Nope, no shrimp inside, no special sauce, no nothin'...

                                -----
                                Har Lam Kee Restaurant
                                150 E Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91755

                                23 Replies
                                1. re: Will Owen

                                  "Sweet creamy kind with ginger syrup": usually referred to as "dou fu fa" or some similar spelling in English. The pronunciations are similar in both Mandarin and Cantonese.

                                  1. re: raytamsgv

                                    Slightly different pronunciation in Mandarin; hua1 (flower). I hear people say just dou hua vs. (doufu hua) quite a lot though.

                                    I like the salty kind the best, personally (with soy sauce, salted vegetables, green onion, etc.).

                                    1. re: raytamsgv

                                      I don't know what it's called, nor is learning that any particular priority; it's what we get for dessert at some dim sum places, and that's enough for me. I prefer those nice egg tarts, but they aren't available (or so nice) everywhere.

                                      Green onion sounds pretty good; might need to look for that.

                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                        You might also like tofu prepared spicy salt & pepper style, like the restaurants do with shrimp. Nice textures, salty, spicy, and the green onions, garlic and chile kick it up another notch...

                                        1. re: bulavinaka

                                          I love the spicy salt & pepper tofu at Tasty Garden, and it was even better at The Kitchen (sigh!). But, I love my stinky tofu too - Ay Chung, The Indian, Old Country - I've enjoyed it at each. I like the tofu & seaweed at Won Won Kitchen and QQ Kitchen...so many it's hard to pick.

                                          There hasn't been a tofu dish yet in the SGV that I've been disappointed in, though the "red & white tofu" at Shu Feng was a higher ratio of pig blood cubes than I could manage (at least for leftovers).

                                          I have an interesting yin-yang going on when I'm in the SGV - I eat a lot more pork, but also a lot more tofu :-)

                                          -----
                                          Won Won Kitchen
                                          9461 Las Tunas Dr, Temple City, CA 91780

                                          Tasty Garden
                                          1212 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

                                          Old Country Cafe
                                          2 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801

                                          1. re: JThur01

                                            >>though the "red & white tofu" at Shu Feng was a higher ratio of pig blood cubes than I could manage (at least for leftovers).<<

                                            Closing my eyes and screaming like my 8-year old daughter when she sees a mosquito...

                                            1. re: bulavinaka

                                              Seriously, it was quite good, but I filled up on other dishes and I was kind of at my "pig blood" limit, having had some pig blood's soup there just four days earlier.

                                              For your benefit:

                                               
                                              1. re: JThur01

                                                >> and I was kind of at my "pig blood" limit, having had some pig blood's soup there just four days earlier.<<

                                                Just picked myself up off the floor after fainting. Morcilla is just barely passable for me. A Taiwanese lady I know through work is still trying to convince me to try these pig blood dishes. She's smart, vibrant and pretty - maybe there's something to this stuff. Nah, I want to stay dumb, tired and ugly. :)

                                                1. re: bulavinaka

                                                  You've never experienced life in its most primal stages of deliciousness if you've never started off your day with a bowl of warm congee mixed with pig's blood and shredded conpoy. Yum!

                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                    (o.O)
                                                    ^

                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                      ... with thousand year old egg!

                                                      1. re: J.L.

                                                        ... and some Taiwanese fermented tofu!

                                                        (Just to keep this thread on topic ...)

                                                      2. re: ipsedixit

                                                        I agree with ipsedixit on this point. Times five.

                                            2. re: Will Owen

                                              As for the egg tarts, I've gotten some pretty good ones from Diamond Bakery on Garvey, just east of Atlantic. The bakery by Capital Seafood (literally across the street from Diamond) has some good ones as well.

                                              -----
                                              Capital Seafood Restaurant
                                              755 W Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91754

                                              Diamond Bakery
                                              335 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA

                                              1. re: Will Owen

                                                The ones at dim sum places always have a weird chalky texture to me. Not sure if they make it from a mix or if it's just a different style, but I'm not a huge fan.

                                                1. re: will47

                                                  "The ones at dim sum places always have a weird chalky texture to me." The best dim sum ones - the only ones I insist on getting - are at Empress Harbor. I don't know if this answers will47's objections, but I find these have a filling and pastry that are both delightfully rich and fresh-tasting.

                                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                                    Actually, that's the most recent place I've had it (Empress Harbor), but had it at a number of other places, and it's always the same texture.

                                                    I don't know what you mean by filling / pastry, though... I'm just talking about the doufu hua with syrup... just comes in a bowl.

                                                    1. re: will47

                                                      >> I prefer those nice egg tarts, but they aren't available (or so nice) everywhere.<<

                                                      Not speaking for poster Will Owen, but my read and successive response was that Will Owen segued into egg tarts/dan tat.

                                                2. re: Will Owen

                                                  The best "dou fu fa" or "dou fu hua" used to be found at Old Country Cafe. Alas, no more.

                                                  Now? The getting is good at Yi Mei.

                                                  -----
                                                  Old Country Cafe
                                                  2 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801

                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                    ipsedixit, Tasty Dessert has a "cold tofu custard". They give you a bottle of a very sweet sauce to pour over it. Does that sound like dou fu fa or dou fu hua?

                                                    1. re: JThur01

                                                      Yes.

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                        I realize it's seems rather obvious, but it looked somewhat different from the photos in your links. I also thought I took a photo, but can't locate it. It was very good. Sort of like tofu with maple syrup on it.

                                                        I've seen "tofu custard" or "tofu dessert" on a few other menus as well, but I cannot recall where at the moment.

                                                        1. re: JThur01

                                                          There are custard things that are a little firmer, usually with agar or some other sort of gelatin-like substance. The texture is not as soft, and it's not as broken up as doufu hua. VP tofu has these, in a few flavors, as well as standard doufu hua.

                                            3. If someone is gonna mention Beverly Soon Tofu, then I gotta mention Sokongdong right across the street.

                                              -----
                                              Beverly Soon Tofu Restaurant
                                              2717 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                actually he did.. in the same sentence :)

                                              2. deep fried tofu at newport seafood in sg

                                                1. I am *totally obsessed* with the taste of pure tofu.

                                                  The best for absolute gorgeous glowing pure taste of tofu:

                                                  1. Sokongdong Soontofu.
                                                  (Beverly Soontofu has the more deep, warm beef-broth. Sokongdong has the fresher, creamier, more perfectly gorgeous tofu. Currently my favorite for sheer quality of tofu in town.)

                                                  2. Viet Noodle Bar
                                                  (Viet makes his soy prodcuts from organic soybeans by hand. Almost every day. Soyskin nugs are great; soymilk is fantastic. He used to have pure soft tofu in ginger syrup, which was *awesome*, but he stopped making it because nobody ever ordered it. Too bad - *that* was the single best tofu experience by hand)

                                                  3. Torafuku
                                                  (Yuba - soyskin - covered with uni. Total crazy textural delight.)

                                                  For fried flavored tofu, I really favor... oh god, I can't remember the name of it. It's the front-end store for a tofu factory in Little Saigon. It's across the little side-street right to the east of the Three Scholars mall. Anybody remember the name?

                                                  Seconding the mapo tofu at Chung King. A lot of my favorites around San Gabriel have very similarly excellent fresh tofu - I'm guessing they're sourcing it from the same local factory.

                                                  -----
                                                  Chung King Restaurant
                                                  1000 S San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                                                  Torafuku Restaurant
                                                  10914 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                                                  Viet Noodle Bar
                                                  3133 1 2 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039

                                                  1. Okay, so this is maybe a super dumb question, but how to figure out which of these splendid dishes are vegetarian and which are not?

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: veggietraveler

                                                      Pretty general question, but I'll try to answer for the stuff that I know about. Of course, asking is always a good idea, but it may be difficult at some of these places if you or someone you're with doesn't speak the language.

                                                      Most of the dou hua is vegetarian, though the salty version often has tiny shrimp or meat stuff in the topping unless you ask for it to be vegetarian. Fresh sweet or salty dou jiang (soy milk) should also be vegetarian, with the same caveat. The ginger syrup might contain refined sugar (not sure whether they use refined sugar or rock sugar typically), if you're that strict about avoiding sugar that may have been processed using bone char. I like the ones at Yi Mei on Atlantic (I think mentioned earlier)... also either branch of Si Hai, and Mei Lin Tou Jiang. I think the vegetarian version of Si Hai's salty dou jiang and dou hua have some little bits of tofu skin in there too, which is a nice touch. These must be ordered vegetarian - by default there is meat and / or fish. However, if you're not Buddhist vegetarian, you might want to let them know that you *do* want green onion.

                                                      Fried tofu with mushroom / bean thread noodles, or lemongrass / chili (like at the Vietnamese tofu places) should be vegetarian. Sauce may or may not be Ok (VP Tofu solves that problem by not giving you any; since their fried tofu is so delicious, sauce isn't really necessary anyway). VP Tofu has a few prepared vegetarian options as well. Their soy pudding / custard mentions both agar and gelatin as ingredients, but we have asked on multiple occasions and they say they only use agar.

                                                      Pure Tofu at Musha is if you ask them to not include the bonito flakes (which are served on the side).

                                                      Most Soon Tofu places are not vegetarian; some (Tofu Ya on Sawtelle, for example) will claim to make a some with a mushroom-based vegetarian soup, but I don't know to what extent you can trust that this is true. I think there is usually fish / shellfish and / or meat in the broth, and some of the panchan they will serve you will also not be vegetarian. Some may be, but often difficult to get a straight answer about whether certain items have fish sauce or other fish ingredients. If you don't eat egg, ask them to leave off the egg.

                                                      Most Sichuan places will make a vegetarian mapo doufu (properly, it's "mala doufu" when made without the pork). You can ask for no chicken base / chicken stock; most places claim they just use water, but you never know for sure. Unless you're going with someone who can speak Mandarin, you may have a hard time at some of the places mentioned in this thread. I have had the one at Chung King, Shu Feng, New Chongqing. Similar deal for other tofu dishes at non-vegetarian Chinese places... Home Style Tofu, Hong Shao Tofu, etc. Yunnan Garden / Yunchuan garden has a really interesting mashed soft tofu dish with a reddish sauce.... I forget the name.

                                                      Stinky tofu, I think it depends on how it's made. Traditionally there is often meat or fish stuff in the brine. I don't think health code allows making it the "traditional" way here, though I'm pretty sure Mama (from Mama Jia) doesn't give a @#$, which is probably why it's one of the most well-loved version. I have asked at quite a few places here, and all at least *claim* that their stinky tofu is vegetarian.

                                                      Anything else you want to know? :>

                                                      -----
                                                      Chung King Restaurant
                                                      1000 S San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                                                      1. re: will47

                                                        thank you so much, will47.
                                                        this is the information i needed.

                                                        1. re: will47

                                                          So helpful, wii47! You're right, it was a general question, and I was imagining a much more general answer ... this kind of place generally has this, this kind of place that. Instead, a wonderful compendium! Thank you!

                                                      2. Where can I get that cold mashed tofu with the 1000 year old egg and sesame oil? it looks fairly easy to make... but i dont think i want to buy the eggs (what, in a jar?) -

                                                        PS i live in west LA and prefer local...

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: elnora

                                                          The eggs are available at Chinese markets and are often sold in four-packs. I haven't dug deep for these but they are often sold individually in Asia. I've seen them packed in sawdust in boxes. I don't know of a local source either way in the Westside - the closest I know of when it comes to drive time would be 99 Ranch Market in Van Nuys.

                                                          1. re: bulavinaka

                                                            actually - to make it easier - do you know of a place that serves the actual dish? a&j in northern virginia used to do a good version... i think theres an a&j around here but its different, or not the same, or not good (something like that).

                                                            1. re: elnora

                                                              Sorry, I don't. The Westside is pretty barren of places that would serve something homey and Chinese like that. I did have a Japanese version of this dish a couple of weekends ago, but that was in Torrance - the peetan tofu at Kagura.

                                                              http://www.littletokyorestaurant.com/...

                                                              I don't know if you ever visit any of the more reputable Chinese eateries in the Westside, but it may be worth asking for if you do. If there was any particular type of restaurant that is more than willing to create you something that is not on the menu, it would be a Chinese restaurant.

                                                              -----
                                                              Hop Woo
                                                              11110 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                                                              Hop Li Seafoood Resturant
                                                              11901 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                                                              Mandarin Kitchen
                                                              1822 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                                                              Hop Li Seafood Restaurant
                                                              10974 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                                                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                thank you for trying! and i appreciate the info about the 1000 yr eggs. though again... dont know if i will be buying them anytime. they taste delicious but also kind of scare me at the same time.

                                                                i love hop woo. ... maybe ill ask them.