HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >

Discussion

Premium quality tofu in Greater Boston?

A friend asked me where I find high-quality fresh tofu at retail in the area. I replied that I don't cook much with tofu at home, usually buy whatever I happen to see at Ming's, C-Mart, or Hong Kong Supermarket. But now I wonder: are there specific brands to look for that really superior in some way, and if so, where are they retailed?

http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I like the Chang Shing Tofu that's made in Cambridge which you can get at the Hong Kong Supermarket in Allston, but I'd be interested to know if I'm missing out on something better.

    1. I haven't really noticed a big difference between brands. Is there a specific type that your friend is looking for (firm, silken, extra-soft etc.)?

      I do like the organic sprouted tofu sold at Trader Joe's [ducking]. When I braise it or add to soups, it tastes like regular tofu to me; but than last week I used it in a dish where it was friend and then braised, and it was really good. The interior was almost creamy, instead of spongy, and I quite liked it. (I am not usually a fan of fried tofu but on a whim decided to try out a new recipe).

      -----
      Trader Joe's
      1427 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

      1. No specifics on type. So far, I've gotten a couple of recs from other sources:

        1) Joanne Chang of Flour et. al. says, "Get the stuff in the green plastic tub at C-Mart, Ming's, etc." I think I've stumbled onto this option by pure chance, myself.

        2) Several folks have recommended 21 Century, made in JP and retailed around town, notably at Harvest Co-op. New one to me, though I like the idea of a local product.

        I'd still welcome other thoughts, suggestions.

        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

        9 Replies
        1. re: MC Slim JB

          The stuff in the green plastic tub is from Chang Shing in Cambridge. You can also get it at Reliable, at the counter in the back of the store. Just ask whoever is behind the counter for tofu or "dubu" (unless they have made it self-serve...it's been a while since I've been in).

          1. re: digga

            i bet it would be really fascinating to see made the various types of tofu. i'm guessing the equipment and technique for handling soft v.s. firm- are very different.

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              Are you talking about equipment used to squeeze out moisture after the soymilk is coagulated? Tofu-making is a fairly low-tech endeavor, and my impression is that moisture is basically extracted by pressure for both soft and firm tofus. Aged and processed tofus, seem to use a variety of methods, soaking liquids, etc., to get the effects they want. Tofu is basically a soymilk cheese. It is soymilk's leap into immortality.

              1. re: FoodDabbler

                yes,though i would think that 'squeezing' might not be in the picture for the silken tofu- maybe just long draining? it must be so interesting to see it. and how to handle that amazingly delicate silken tofu. my fondest food memory of 8 wks in japan was a kaiseki restnt in kyoto that served me a round scoop of silken tofu tempura. my benchmark for 'ethereal.'

            2. re: digga

              I've been in to Chang Shing a few times. If you know what you want, you can get it right there.

              1. re: L2k

                Really? Their plant is just a couple of blocks from my house. I'll have to try going over there. Usually I get that or the 21st Century, which is a little firmer, which I like.

                1. re: Moopheus

                  I hear you can just walk through a back door or something ... supposedly it doesn't have an actual/formalized store front.

                  1. re: tammyh

                    Exactly. I went with a friend who not only knows everything there is to know about the product, but he speaks enough of the language that he got exactly what he wanted.

                    1. re: L2k

                      I bet the best way to do it is to bring the package of the style you like, and bet anyone can sell them to that...

          2. Am NOT well-versed in tofu, but thought it was interesting to find Vermony Soy's offering at Russo's fairly regularly: http://www.vermontsoy.com/

            They appear only to have a firm-style tofu. I always liked it for the few times I made a tofu dish.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Spenbald

              I too buy the VT soy firm tofu from Russos. They are organic made from non-GMO soybeans (in case anyone cares).

            2. mc, not meeting all the reqs , but fyi, my very fav tofu is Japanese and Soft and comes in a white box: Mori- Nu Silken Tofu;creamy and perfect. Made in Ca.

              1 Reply
              1. re: opinionatedchef

                my favorite style is silken also. I find the stuff that i buy from whole foods pretty good. To toughen up the silken, you can boil it. I live in Cambridge, I wonder whether it is worth going to harvrest? Do they have locally made silken style? Is it better?

              2. I think the 21st Century (which I get at Russo's) is worth seeking out. Beautiful creamy flavor.
                All forms of Chang Shing (widely available) are very good. The blocks in the tubs are fresh, though even the firm breaks easily. We also like their soy milk.
                Nasoya Extra Firm tastes decent and is easy to cook with.
                House brand Tofu cutlets are among the things that get us to go to H-Mart.

                -----
                H-Mart
                3 Old Concord Rd, Burlington, MA 01803

                1. I like The Bridge tofu from Whole Foods. It's sold in a plastic pouch, rather than a tub, and tastes much fresher and richer than any of the tub varieties. Be warned, though, that it expires much faster than its sell-by date.

                  1. It really depends on what kind you are looking for as many people have pointed out. I think Chang Shing is great, I have never ventured in their factory in Kendall Sq for some reason. It's on Rogers, right off 1st St, it looks like a normal business and there's a buddhist alter in the lobby of some sort.

                    I'm partial to siken whenever possible. With skill deep-fried/tempura silken is amazing. Even a very fresh one, cubed carefully but not taken apart, topped with ginger, scallions, katsuobushi and soy sauce is a delightful cold app. I've even seen soft deep-fried tofu dishes in Thai or Chinese stir-fries and I like that too. The simple flat slab of pan-fried tofu at Taiwan Cafe is pretty soft, but it is likely that they sliced off maybe a third of the package and let it drain quite a bit. It's a great dish, so simple but so good. Tofu dishes should be like that, simple flavors but well executed.

                    If has to be firm, I like something really hard, like the compacted five-spiced tofu, great julienned and wok fried with flowering chives, about the fastest dish I can make period.

                    For me, marinating firm tofu just never pans out for me. BBQ, etc, no. Battering helps somewhat to keep the intensity in, but it always slides off, and in the end, it's like blah, weird and bland after all. It has to be really over the top flavor wise, like a General Gao's Tofu which you might see on menus once in a while. I actually kind of like that dish, as silly as it sounds.

                    Finally, I think it's worth it to buy organic just to avoid Monsanto beans, which is the biggest agricultural scam in the history of mankind. That company is just plain evil, the way they put farmers and other seed growers out of business and then turn around to pratically enslave them having "patented" the soybean, forcing farmers to re-buy seeds from them every season, thus monopolizing the market.