Help me identify this Vietnamese tofu

I purchased this homemade tofu (left) at a nearby Vietnamese plaza. The lady I purchased it from told me how to eat it – with rice and sugar – but I may have misunderstood her. Does anyone know what these are called?

Sorry I don’t have an answer but it is interesting tofu. The brine must be sour like the mustard next to it, that’s why she says to eat it with sugar, perhaps. As a side. I would eat both with rice porridge.

Might be fermented tofu or pickled in a brine.
She might have just wanted you to know to use it like a condiment on rice, not as the main dish. One taste and you wil figure it out pretty quickly :wink:

It definitely looks like fermented tofu as Ttockwood has pointed out. If it is indeed fermented tofu, you will unmistakably find out. It has very strong flavor, so you only use it as a condiment.

Yes, you are right, it is fermented tofu. I’ve only had it in restaurants before. The Vietnamese version is called ‘chao’. Thanks everyone.

Do you like it? Hate it? Or still on the fence?

I don’t know the Vietnamese one, there is a Chinese version of fermented bean curd.

I found this chao recipe that looks like what you have bought:

Searching “chao”, you have numerous links talking about a certain Vietnamese chao duck. Looks tasty.

I love it. The only thing is I think it has rice wine which isn’t compatible with my religious beliefs. I’ll have to ask next time I’m there.

I found a store brand of fermented tofu without alcohol. It’s okay, but what I purchased from the Vietnamese center was orders of magnitude better. (The tofu itself might have been homemade, too.) Moral of the story: If you come across homemade fermented tofu, buy it.

I want to ferment tofu myself at home. Does the rice wine play a large part in the home fermentation process? Is it more for flavor or more for preservation? Would my usual rice wine substitute of 50/50 apple juice and rice vinegar hurt the process?

Looking over recipes the tofu is cured in either salt, vinegar, or alchohol. The sugar from the apple juice could be a problem because of the sugars in it…,
I’m certainly no expert and haven’t made this myself but it looks like the tofu is basically undergoing a pickling process.
Please report back what you make and how it turns out!

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold