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Sep 23, 2011 11:26 AM

Soft and Stuffed Tofu Dishes?

I am a sucker for soft tofu, deep fried stuffed tofu, and sometimes, just fried tofu and stuffed tofu.Not a fan of tofu skin; i like the creamy tofu element. My favs have been those below:

- age dashi tofu (used to be great at the G____ sushi place that used? to be across from the Pru and downstairs; is pretty good at Garai; terrible at my fav sushi spot- Sushi Island)

- fried ginger tofu at Mary Chung

- peanut paste and bean sprout stuffed fried tofu at Penang

-fabulous meat stuffed steamed tofu hot pot at small _______ (gone) near B.U. EMS

My life's soft tofu epiphany was in Kyoto at a kaiseki place where i was served an ice cream scoop soft tofu sphere tempura. Other recs here in Boston?Thanks v. much.

Mary Chung Restaurant
460 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

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  1. savory tofu custard at Jo Jo Taipei (weekend brunch only)
    house soft tofu at Basho

    2 Replies
    1. re: barleywino

      barley, would you plse describe these dishes?last week, i had the tofu custard topped with braised beef special at jojo but it was way too spicy hot for me to consume. same dish you've mentioned?

      1. re: opinionatedchef

        no the tofu custard i've had at Jo Jo is just tofu custard with some pork floss and a bit of hot oil/ scallion iirc, no spice to speak of. the housemade tofu at Basho is even more bland but very creamy

    2. Some of my favorite tofu dishes include:

      - Sichuan dou hua at Fuloon (similar to Ma Po Tofu, which is also very good there, but with a more silken tofu. I think it's called Bean Curd with Special Sauce on their menu)

      - Ma Po Tofu at Top Garden (as good as Fuloon's, with a wonderful depth of flavor in the complex sauce)

      - Sweet dou hua at Chung Shin Yuan (for weekend brunch only, a kind of sweet, tofu soup)

      - Bean curd with dry bean sauce at Mulan (cubes of tofu topped with a terrifically nutty collection of chopped dry beans)

      - Soft bean curd with green mustard at Mulan (tofu skin with chopped xue cai and edamame)

      - Preserved egg with tofu at Taiwan Cafe (cubes of cold silken tofu, topped with peanuts, floss, and with preserved eggs on the side)

      - Cold Bean Curd at Fuloon (terrifically refreshing crumbles of cold, soft tofu with chopped scallions)

      - Chickpea tofu salad at YoMa (very soft, beautiful texture with a nice nutty taste underlying it)

      Good Japanese tofu dishes at Toraya and Shiki . . . and of course at O Ya, which does silken tofu tempura. Oishii makes a nice yuba (tofu skin) and I think they have other parts of that same tofu on their menu.

      Bagel Rising has a variety of tofu spreads that taste like a soft cream cheese.

      Spice & Rice in Cambridge has a silken tofu soup, but I've never tried it.

      The sweet tofu soup at Chung Shin Yuan is wonderful, but the best tofu dessert I've ever had is at Kyotofu in New York City.

      And thanks very much for some of your specific tofu dish recs --- I've never had any of them before but will have to give them a try.

      O Ya
      9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

      Chung Shin Yuan
      183 California St, Newtonville, MA 02458

      Toraya Restaurant
      890 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

      9 Babcock Street, Brookline, MA 02446

      Spice & Rice
      1172 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

      Top Garden
      1921 Main St Ste 1, Tewksbury, MA 01876

      Bagel Rising
      1243 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02134

      1 Reply
      1. re: lipoff

        wow, sam, you is some SERious tofu lover! have had the fuloon and yoma dishes(isn't that chickpea tofu fascinating?!) and will seek out the others. thnx so much.

      2. In Japan tofu restaurants can serve around 18 courses of tofu in a dinner. It is almost kaiseki in it's service and shows you the versatility of this product.

        Around here something soft and stuffed I like is a dish called Pipa Tofu in Cantonese places, like Joyful Garden or Jumbo Seafood. Great dish, likely to win over tofu haters. I used to order it at Wisteria before they closed.

        Jumbo Seafood Restaurant
        7 Hudson St, Boston, MA 02111

        Joyful Garden
        1234 Soldiers Field Rd, Boston, MA 02135

        3 Replies
          1. re: opinionatedchef

            I didn't know, but it's somewhat of a historical dish, there's lots of info on the net. But basically Pipa Tofu are soft tofu and shrimp balls, deep-fried and then topped with sauce a delicate wine, stock, and a touch of soy and oyster sauce, all on bed of shredded lettuce or other greens. It's far more savory than any of the ingredients would suggest and sometimes I have seen bits and pieces of deep-fried bird's eye chili as a garnish. The name and shape derive from the Chinese lute instrument, a tear-dropped form of a mandolin.

            I can't be sure, but it's probably Cantonese, even thought the name is Manadrin, although Wisteria wasn't really Canto at all, perhaps it's just a widely known dish in China.

            As far as a 2.5 hour tofu dinner in Japan is concerned, wow, I'd have to dig up my notes!

            1. re: tatsu

              tats, so this is terrif and we'll be going for that pipa soon. which place should we go to- of the 2 you mentioned, and what else particularly great that we should try? thnx much!

        1. Tofu with dan dan sauce at Mary Chung's is very very good!

          2 Replies
          1. re: CookieLee

            Ha! i just got back from there- picking up my weekly allotment of fried ginger tofu! is it soft tofu? crushed peanut sauce or sesame sauce? i'll follow your lead next time i go; th you!

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              It's soft inside, a little crisped on the outside. The dan dan sauce is delightfully spicy. I don't know what dan dan sauce is made of, kind of peanut tasting. Enjoy!

          2. I love, love tofu, and also prefer the soft custardy kind. Some of my favorite meals were of yu dofu in Kyoto. For Cantonese tofu dishes, I prefer the tsui pei tofu ("crispy skin" tofu) to pei pa (pipa) tofu. It's like agedashi tofu, except normally in bigger squares and no dashi sauce. When well executed it's a nice crispy skin encasing a (scalding) hot soft custardy square of soft tofu. Some places will top it with a small amount of shrimp on top and it's served with a soy sauce for dipping. Many Cantonese restaurants here do a decent version, with Peach Farm perhaps my favorite of this so far.

            Just about my all time favorite though is a nice home made tofu pudding -- fresh soft custardy tofu with a small amount of ginger syrup on top. It doesn't get better than that for me in terms of enjoying the pure soy, tofu-ish taste. No place really does it nearly justice to what you can get in HK or Taiwan IMO, but the small bowls you can get at the dim sum places are still a nice refreshing treat. I like mine served hot or cold.
            Sincee I also love food with a kick - I tip my hat to soondobu jigae, probably my favorite Korean dish that marries my love of tofu with spice! I know high quality Korean food here is much debated, but my favorite so far is actually Koreana's version. I was all gung-ho about Cho-cho's since this was supposed to be a specialty for them, but found their rendition disappointing.

            Peach Farm
            4 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

            154 Prospect Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

            9 Replies
            1. re: kobuta

              these are great leads.i am a little confused though; the pipa tofu i got today at Jumbo Seafood is exactly what you call tsui pei tofu: squares of tofu w/ a shrimp on top, tempura- fried and served w/ soy sce on the side and no dashi.

              Also, don't know if you saw my other thread, but do you have a fav place for jajangmyun?

              Jumbo Seafood Restaurant
              7 Hudson St, Boston, MA 02111

              1. re: opinionatedchef

                Eh, then they either served you the wrong dish, or they are just confused. Pei pa (pipa) tofu is exactly as tatsu described. It's kind of a seasoned tofu mixture, fried into small balls or ovals. They have a pretty good rendition of that dish at Hong Kong Cafe (at least the one in Quincy -- never ordered this in the Chinatown branch).

                Jajangmyun - ok, count me weird, but I'm only ok on the dish. Maybe it's because I haven't had a version that's wow'ed me, so no recommendation from me right now.

                1. re: kobuta

                  man, i tell you, i DO get frustrated with correct names of Asian dishes.This Pipa Tofu I got from Jumbo Seafood - the friendly OWNER? of JS double checked my order to make sure i rcvd pipa tofu. Fried tempura squares w/ a single shrimp on top, served w/ soy sauce on the side. Now you're telling me that is not Pipa tofu. what the heck?? i am con FUSED!!

                  After my other mixup at Cafe LuLu , also yesterday, where last week's jajaingmein hong kong style-turned into this week's sweet and sour pork over fine noodles,i'm beginning to think there is a conspiracy of snickering Chinese restnt owners all sitting around after hours ,laughing about what prank they played on another take-out haoli customer. while i am not serious , of course, it is rather disheartening when one travels a good distance and goes to C'town with the best of intentions to follow various CH leads. I may retire from this until an asian fairy appears to guide the way and talk the talk. phooey.

                  Jumbo Seafood Restaurant
                  7 Hudson St, Boston, MA 02111

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    Sounds like you did not get pipa tofu. Although what you did get, I happen to prefer over pipa tofu. As far as jiajiang mein, I like the version at Chung Shin Yuan in Newton (weekend lunchtime only, "noodles w/ Peking meat sauce"). Get the baby pork ribs w/ rice flour and the salty soy milk w/ fried cruller while you're there (stir in a couple drops of vinegar/soy to make the bean curds precipitate out in your bowl).

                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                      sorry opinionatedchef, I have seen it on the menu, and I know that dish you and kobuta are talking about, it's excellent too, but not the right dish I'm talking about! Try Joyful Garden perhaps?? Again I used to get it at Wisteria, long gone...

                      Joyful Garden
                      1234 Soldiers Field Rd, Boston, MA 02135

                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                        I went through all my takeout menus to find the peipa tofu, and it's listed as Fried Bean Curd Mixed with Minced Shrimp on the Hong Kong Eatery menu, Quan's Kitchen calls it House Special Bean Curd with ground shrimp, and Victoria Seafood calls is Crispy Tofu and Shrimp stuff. If you have any of those menus, you can see the chinese characters. In Chinese it's listed the same, it's the translation that varies. Good luck!

                        Although to add another tasty tofu dish, I also really like the soondobu jigae (soft tofu stew) at the stall deepest in the supermarket at HMart. It's a seafood, beef, tofu stew.

                        Hong Kong Eatery
                        79 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02111

                        Victoria Seafood Restaurant
                        1029 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

                        Quan's Kitchen
                        652 E Washington St, North Attleboro, MA 02760

                        1. re: makonna

                          makonna, thanks for being so sweet to take the time to do this for me; awfully generous of you. I will try some of them and report back eventually!

                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                            I just want to clarify that I haven't had the version at any of these places. Honestly, the only one I would probably eat at is Hong Kong Eatery. But if you can get a menu and chinese characters, it will make it clear at other chinese places that this is what you want. If that makes any sense, I used to like this dish at East Ocean City on Beach St, but I haven't been for some years. Good luck!

                            Hong Kong Eatery
                            1510 Hancock St, Quincy, MA 02169

                            East Ocean City Restaurant
                            27 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111