A uniquely sweet and savory breakfast
The second dessert-themed entry for my “5 Tofu Dishes From 5 Countries” series is a Vietnamese dessert shared by Stephanie in San Diego, California. This dish is called dau hu nuoc duong, and translates from Vietnamese to English as “sugar water tofu.”
Stephanie grew up in San Diego, but both her parents immigrated from Vietnam to the United States as young adults. They emigrated to the USA separately, but ended up meeting and falling in love in San Diego. Stephanie shares that dau hu nuoc duong is a sweet and delicate Vietnamese dessert that is made from silken tofu. Traditionally, silken tofu is homemade from coagulated soybean milk. The silken tofu is then doused in a sweet ginger syrup. Often, this dessert is served warm. But, Stephanie says you can also chill dau hu nuoc duong for a more refreshing treat.
Many people probably don’t think of eating a piece of tofu as a dessert, but Stephanie claims that tofu works great as a dessert because tofu is very bland on its own. This means that when the sweet ginger syrup and fresh ginger are added, the tofu is the perfect vessel to soak up all the delicious flavors.
For Stephanie, this dish takes her back to her childhood. When Stephanie and her siblings were children, their parents would take the family up north to Orange County, which is just south of Los Angeles, California. There, the family would shop at Asian markets, where they would purchase banh mi and other Vietnamese delicacies that were hard to find in San Diego. Dau hu nuoc duong was often brought home to be shared with family members.
Although Stephanie doesn’t eat this dessert very often, it brings her back to her childhood every time she takes a bite. In Vietnam, Stephanie tells us that this dish is often sold as street food by women who carry poles on their shoulders with large baskets on each side. These women shout the name of the dish being sold.
As an American who is not used to seeing tofu as a dessert, this dish sounded very interesting to me. The first thing I appreciated about this dish is that the tofu isn’t hiding. We haven’t put the tofu inside a cake or blended it up. The flavor of the ginger syrup really transforms this dish. I am shocked to report that this dish tastes nothing like tofu. Instead, it tastes exactly like flan! This recipe has really changed my feelings about silken tofu. Dau hu nuoc duong will really transform your idea of what tofu can be.
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