THE ART OF STINKY TOFU

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While westerners delineate tofu in the grocery store by whether it’s firm, medium, or silken, the world of Chinese tofu is far more nuanced. Given thousands of years of tofu production, the fame of this or that tofu is attributed to the quality of the water, and specifically, to the quality of the water emanating from a certain well. Jianshui and Shiping, two neighboring towns a few hours south of Kunming, Yunnan, have reputations for delectable tofu. In 2012, Luxi Yuan of Rice and Friends and I took a journey into the bowels of handmade tofu and found out how production methods (some naughty some nice), fermentation times, and cooking techniques influence the final product.

CLICK ON THE THUMBNAILS TO SEE HOW JIANSHUI TOFU IS MADE. . . 

Shiping, a city 50 miles west of Jianshui, is also famous for its tofu. We were interested in the difference in styles and also eager to try the Baojiang tofu, which we had been told was made in Shiping. Again, just as in Jianshui, the quality of the tofu was attributed to the water as opposed to the production techniques. Frankly, I’m not so sure I agree with this, but that was how the locals averred.

CLICK ON THE THUMBNAILS TO SEE HOW SHIPING TOFU IS MADE. . .

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