Shiping Tofu

Tofu, also known as bean curd in English, is a food prepared by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into solid white blocks of varying softness; it can be silken, soft, firm, extra firm, or super firm. Beyond these broad textural categories, there are many varieties of tofu. It has a subtle flavor, so it can be used in savory and sweet dishes. It is often seasoned or marinated to suit the dish and its flavors, and due to its spongy texture, it absorbs flavors well.


Tofu made in Shiping town in south Yunnan is something special, famous throughout China's southwest. We get lots of fresh tofu here in Kunming, but I've also had the privilege of enjoying it at its source, in the lush mountains of Honghe Prefecture, not far from ancient Jianshui and scenic Yuanyang. They say the difference is mainly in the water, and verbal battles are still fought about which deep well has the sweetest tofu-making nectar.

The different wells produce water of different qualities, and each well is preferred for different purposes. The West well is used for drinking. The water from the Dongjing well is said to be sweeter, so it is preferred for brewing tea. It's the Ximen Daban well that's favored for making tofu. The water is an important part of the process because it's used to soak the soybeans in the very first step of the process. The water from the Ximen well is known to make the tofu tender and tasty, and to give it a flavor that is unique to Shiping.


Tofu is made from soybeans in a lengthy process. After the soybeans are ground and the soy milk is extracted, it's boiled in a big vat and mixed with gypsum to coagulate the mixture. The hot curds are drained. The women who are creating the tofu then scoop balls of tofu into a square of cheesecloth, squeeze out excess water, and lay them out into rows. Then the squares are unwrapped, partially dried, and then transferred to crates to be transported to restaurants.


Shiping's most popular style of tofu is fermented and dried and placed on a grill, where it puffs up and becomes light and crunchy. It has a cheesy flavor, but does not have the pungent intensity of what is known as "stinky tofu."


Photo CreditUnsplash

Reference: Wikipedia

If there's any copyright issue involved, please contact us to delete.