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A Guide to Your Wet Market Tofu Choices and Ways to Cook them

Soy products are definitely a go-to plant-based protein for vegans and vegetarians. It is easy to spot them on the shelves in the supermarket. Today, however, I will be bringing you to a local tofu shop in my neighbourhood to check out the vast varieties it has. (Also gotta show some love to self-owned shops!) Growing up, my mum always brought me to the wet market with her and the tofu shop has always been my favourite. Viewing various soy products being displayed according to the owner’s style is mesmerising, and they are certainly more interesting than those in the plastic boxes.

Here are just some of the examples:

Types of Firm Tofu (硬豆腐 ngaang6 dau6 fu6)

1. Hard Bean Curd 板豆腐 (baan2 dau6 fu6) Good for pan-fried, deep-fried and stir-fried kinds of dishes; extra seasoning is needed.

2. Chiu Chau Bean Curd 潮州豆腐乾 (chiu4 jau1 dau6 fu6 gon1) A type of firm tofu with a hint of five-spice; the seasoning was added during production.

3. Five-spice Bean Curd

五香豆干 (ng5 heung1dau6 gon1) Good for pan-fried, deep-fried and stir-fried, it has a prolonged dehydration process and extra coating for longer shelf life. This type of tofu is Ideal for stir fry or warm salad.

4. Fried Bean Curd 油豆腐 (yau4 dau6 fu6) A slightly fried hard bean curd; as some of the moisture in the tofu evaporated during the frying process, the inside has more air bubbles. This type of tofu is ideal to have with soup noodles.

5. Wrapped Bean Curd 布包豆腐 (bou3 baau1 dau6 fu6) Have the firmest texture and is wrapped in a cloth individually. This type of tofu is ideal for steaming, stew and frying.

Other Types of Tofu:

1. Fried bean curd 豆卜 (dau6 buk1) The most versatile soybean product, in my opinion. Fried bean curd has a lot of shapes and sizes (Like what you see in the photo. It is a perfect medium to soak up sauce or to further deep-fried them as snacks.

2. Tofu pudding 豆腐花(dau6 fu6 fa1) This type of tofu is only sold in certain tofu shops, tofu pudding is a dessert perfect for afternoon tea. It is usually consumed with brown sugar.

Two of my favourite tofu recipes!

Chiu Chau Style Fried Tofu (For Four People)

Ingredients: - ~500g Hard bean curd: two squares - Oil: enough to cover the tofu

- ~100g Corn starch - Coriander for garnish - Thai sweet chilli sauce Method:

  1. Cut the bean curds into 8cm wide squares, then cut them into 1 cm thick slices

  2. Pat the slices gently with kitchen paper to soak off extra moisture

  3. Coat the slices with a thin layer of corn starch for extra crispiness

  4. Heat eat the oil to 180c

  5. Fry the slices for 3 minutes; take them out for 30 seconds to wait for the oil to become hot again; put the slices back and fry for another 30 to 45 seconds

  6. Drain the oil before plating

  7. Garnish the dish with some coriander and have the sauce ready

  8. Bon appetit!

Spicy Five Spiced Bean Curd Salad (For Four People)


  • 300g Five spiced bean curd

  • 1 Chili

  • 4-5 sprigs Coriander

  • 3 cloves Garlic

  • 100g Cooked Edamame


  • 1 tbsp Sesame oil

  • 1 tbsp Soy sauce

  • 1 tbsp Chilli Bean Sauce (Toban Djan )

  • 1 tsp Honey


  1. Boil the bean curds in hot water for 5 minutes; set aside

  2. Cut the coriander into small pieces; deseed and dice up the chilli; mince the garlic cloves

  3. Cut the bean curds into cubes (around 6 - 8 cubes per bean curds)

  4. Mix the bean curd cubes with the seasoning and prepared coriander, chilli and garlic (You can add in the edamame if you are going for some crunch)

  5. Enjoy! (It tastes better if you put it in the fridge for a while)

Hopefully, this brings you guys some new options for a source of protein in soy products and cooking methods. If you are like me, who is trying to generate less plastic waste and love a little adventure, bring your own container and have a visit to your local tofu shop!

Written by Wing Ki Leung

Edited by Chandni Sacheti

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