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Respect the Tofu

How Minh Tsai elevated the vegetarian standby.


Gone are the days when tofu only existed, for most (non-Asian) Americans, as a vegan hot dog proxy or a bland foreign food. Today, tofu has respect—at least in our Bay Area food bubble. And that shift in perspective is partly attributable to Hodo Soy founder Minh Tsai, whose Oakland-based company’s tofu has now achieved near-ubiquity—you’ll find it everywhere from Whole Foods to Chipotle to, as likely as not, your favorite fine-dining restaurant.

It’s fitting, then, that Tsai will take center stage at the JCCSF for “Tofu Evolved,” a kind of coming-out party to celebrate tofu’s ascension in the United States. He’ll join the food writer J. Kenji Lopez-Alt for a conversation on all the ways that America’s view of tofu is continuing to change.

Tsai will also demonstrate the science behind a number of tofu-and yuba-making techniques, and he’ll be joined by an all-star lineup of Bay Area chefs—Kim Alter (whose miso-cured tofu dish is pictured above), Nick Balla, and James Syhabout—who will cook a multicourse, tofu-centric dinner, served with complimentary wine.

The most exciting part, Tsai says, is that he has no idea what these decorated chefs are going to make with his tofu. He can’t wait to find out.
Feb. 5, 6–9 P.M., $50


Originally published in the February issue of San Francisco 

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