Mapo Doufu - SF Dish of the Month November 2013
The SF Bay Area Dish of the Month for November 2013 is Mapo Doufu ( Mápó dòufu 麻婆豆腐 ).
Now is your chance to try versions of Mapo Doufu that you haven't tasted before. Some things to note might be what kind of meat is in it or if it's vegetarian, spice level, quantity of Sichuan peppercorns and its numbing properties, and whether the tofu is served as a block or in chunks.
Let's collectively try as many versions of Mapo Doufu as possible during the month of November! Report back with reviews and photos.
Here's a link to the this month's vote:
Just had a great version a few weeks ago at Sichuan Fusion in Albany (Pacific East Mall.) Vegetarian, blocks of tofu. Very numbing but not their hottest dish. Made a nice version at home from my Epicurious app that I really enjoyed. Ground pork, plenty of peppercorms, numbing but flavorful.
i had mapo tofu at hakkasan again last saturday night at the bar. $12 i believe. steamed rice is $2, or (quite good) fried rice $5. seemed to be more caramelly than spicy. i'd get it again, but probably more for the atmosphere than anything -- the interior here is really nice.
as an aside, at the same meal i also tried the crispy duck salad ($28). expensive, but i really can't overstate how good i thought this was. i'd put it on par with, and say that together with yum's bistro's "under the bridge crab" these are my two favorite a la carte chinese dishes in the bay area.
also tried coconut dessert ($10). not good. disappointing, because i really like the chocolate orange dessert here.
We have been disappointed with recent ones we have tried at China Village. The versions we had the last two times there were the crab version and the regular version. Both versions were overly oily with not much sauce and the tofu was firm and not as creamy as it should be. We had some stellar versions back in the pre fire days.
Mission Chinese has an interesting version although not my favorite.
The best version we had this year was at San Xi Lou in Hong Kong. It was with shrimp and was probably the best version I have ever had because the quality of the Tofu and shrimp was so high.
I had the version in San Xi Lou in August. The tofu quality was good. The spicing went well together. There was one problem with the dish that night- it's very mild. I didn't felt the need to drink or eat rice after eating the dish. I am normally a weakling when it comes to spiciness. Perhaps they dumbed it down for us..
I'm a novice re this dish, looking forward to the opportunity to learn more this month from others.
But I didn't love the one I had @ Mission Chinese, found it all heat, no complexity or nuance. A chef friend refers to their food as testosterone cooking. This felt like a good example.
I liked the version I had at Golden Happy Bowl in El Cerrito on the lunch special. Spicy oily and inexpensive with soup and roll.
I think they were transitioning to new name.
10675 San Pablo Avenue
El Cerrito, CA 94530