The Re-Education of Tofu w/Hodo Soy Beanery: How One Tofu Master is Trying to Change the American Palette
“I think a lot of Asian restaurants actually cook with not the best quality tofu. The reason for that is, people don’t understand tofu and therefore are not willing to pay the premium for it.”
Meet Minh Tsai, the founder & tofu master behind Hodo Soy Beanery in Oakland, California. Minh is a self-titled “Tofu Ambassador”, a man on a mission to re-educate Americans on the taste and texture of real, authentic, traditional tofu from Asia – not the chalky, tasteless tofu many of us are accustomed to (people like myself).
When I traveled to San Francisco a few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be introduced to Hodo Soy through a food loving friend of mine. I was excited because I never actually stopped to think and wonder about how tofu was made. I, like many, just ate what was either served to me or ate what was shelved at my local Korean market. For me, tofu was a nice “filler”. A nice break between meat & seafood when I didn’t just want straight-up vegetables. And tofu, to me, was mostly tasteless, a product made better through either deep-frying, dipping or heavily saucing. But, Minh taught me differently.
Hodo has much meaning in its name. In Chinese, it’s interpreted to mean “good bean”, a philosophy about being good to the entire supply chain, from where you source your product all the way to the end customer. Hodo Soy uses organic, non-GMO soy beans from a 4th-generation soy grower out in Dakota, Illinois. According to Minh, when you use the highest quality product and their artisan/science-focused technique you can only produce really great tofu – tofu that tastes creamy and milky, a taste so present that it can stand alone and be appreciated without any added flavor.
So enjoy my story and tour of Hodo Soy Beanery. Their mission to re-educate American palettes will take some time, and Minh Tsai knows this is only the beginning… “We want people to try it and recognize that it tastes so good that they’re willing to pay an extra 25¢ just to eat it, and we’re making traction that way.”
To try Hodo Soy’s artisan tofu products, you can find them in farmers markets, popular restaurants and in select grocery stores around the San Francisco Bay area. They sell tofu, soymilk, fresh yuba, prepared salads, spiced tofu nuggets and more. And if you can get your hands on their uber-ly delicious curry nuggets, don’t think twice, just buy them. Trust me. (And be on the lookout EAST COAST FOOD LOVERS, Hodo Soy may be coming our way in the not-so-distant future!)
Thanks for watching food. curated. Happy Eating!