This tofu is new

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Two bowls of tàu hũ at Tofu shop in Phu Nhuan District

Tàu hũ (as it is called in the south Vietnam) or tào phá»› (as it is called in the north) is a Vietnamese traditional snack made of soy beans, known in the west as soft tofu.

The beans are ground and then cooked with additional ingredients into a kind of white, smooth pudding that is served a kind of hot-sweet-soup-pudding-desert-snack.

Whether in the south or in the north, in its original style, tàu hũ is supposed to be eaten hot with ginger syrup and cooked coconut milk.

It is not difficult to find tàu hũ in Vietnam, as old ladies with bamboo shoulder poles sell it almost everywhere, and it's very cheap.

Traditionally just a street-snack, these days tàu hũ being sold at even the most luxurious eateries.

At these modern restaurant, traditional tàu hũ is transformed by additional flavors and ingredients, and it is even eaten cold with ice.

Dinh Tuan An, owner and founder of HAT, an eatery in Thu Duc District that serves the new style of tàu hũ, said he used to sell the original tàu hũ on the Saigon street but then he realized that the snack could be changed to appeal to a wider audience. He said it was risky making the traditional dish anew, but he did it anyway.

A glass of tàu hũ cooked with Vietnamese gấc and another glass of tàu hũ cooked with pandan at HAT in Thu Duc District

At HAT, the tàu hũ is made from soy beans combined with Cochinchin gourd (Vietnamese gấc) and pandan and therefore comes in green and a bit red instead of plain white.

It is then served in high glasses instead of a small bowl like on the street and is eaten cold with lotus seed, coconut milk, syrup (not cooked with ginger) and shredded coconut. The glass of tofu then looks like a colorful cocktail.

HAT also serves its tàu hũ with nếp cẩm (violet glutinous rice), sương sáo (grass jelly made from mesona chinensis) and red beans. It also offers hot tàu hũ served with lotus seed.


HAT 53 Thong Nhat Street, Binh Tho Ward, Thu Duc District
Thế Giá»›i Tàu Hũ -  567A Tran Hung Dao Street, District 1
Tofu 315 Phan Xich Long Street, Phu Nhuan District 

Apart from HAT, many other eateries serve tàu hũ in this new style. It's become quite popular despite it being three to four times more expensive than the street tofu still sold for around VND5,000.

At some shops, tàu hũ is served both in the traditional and modern style. Each shop does it their own way.

At the "Thế Giá»›i Tàu Hũ" (Tofu World) shop in District 1 and Tofu Shop in Binh Thanh District, tàu hũ is served with ice, jasmine water or nhãn nhục (arillus longanae) or combined with bánh lọt (a sweet rice pasta dessert made with rice, salt, tapioca flour, coconut milk, sugar and water) or even coffee, cream and caramel and fruit jelly or flan (or caramel custard).

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