Dong Phuong Tofu - Westminster
You know those white, brick-sized tofu blocks you see at Asian markets all around Orange County? Ever wonder where they're made? Well, here it is: Dong Phuong Tofu factory in Westminster -- in my opinion, the best supplier of this wonder curd, local or otherwise.
When you buy it at a supermarket, the prices are marked up, but not by much. Buying it at Dong Phuong, thereby cutting out the middleman, won't save you more than a few cents. A tofu block will set you back $1.50 here; it's maybe $2 elsewhere.
But you should still buy it direct. And the reason is freshness. Here, the tofu is not days or hours old, but minutes, sometimes even seconds from the tofu press. It's so fresh, in fact, it's steaming, scalding to the touch, almost virginal in its purity.
Some of you are probably wondering, "So if I buy one, what do I do with it?"
Tofu is merely a springboard to culinary greatness. Forget about it healthiness. That's a given. It's just a great ingredient.
Besides, my favorite preparation is unhealthy at best. I cut the whole block lengthwise and into quarter inch thick slices, then marinade for twenty or so minutes in a salt water brine that has plenty of mashed, pulverized garlic cloves (you can't have too much garlic). After the soak, I deep fry them until they float like rafts and take on a crispy golden sheen. Eaten with rice, maybe some roasted broccoli or other greens, one can call it a meat substitute. I just call it a great and easy meal.
Deep frying, by the way, shows off how well-made Dong Phoung's tofu is. The crust gets a bubbly, porous crunch, while the insides puff up to a hollow lightness. The quality is seen in the curd, which has a tighter texture and a more resilient constitution than that of lesser brands.
If you're feeling lazy too lazy too cook, you could try their ready made fried tofu cubes ($2.50 a bag), which aren't salted or seasoned, but demonstrates this quality -- all as airy as ping pong balls.
And if you're there when they have the sesame balls, don't hesitate. Buy as much you can. The sesame-crusted, deep fried orbs are crunchy, filled with sugary mashed mung beans, and will be the best you'll ever crunch. No, they don't have anything to do with tofu. But they're great just the same.
Dong Phuong Tofu
15022 Moran Street
Westminster, CA 92683
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