My current food obsession – the thing I wake up craving first thing in the morning – isn’t some $40 dish covered in truffles. It’s nothing fancy but it’s changed my (food) life and the way I look at…tofu. That polarizing ingredient that folks either love or hate. It’s texture is off-putting to some and I certainly could have been lumped into that category. Skillful preparation of tofu is often hard to come by…and there is no better tofu dish in Atlanta right now than the salt & pepper tofu at So Ba.
Tucked away on a side street in East Atlanta, So Ba is the city’s in-town spot for a Vietnamese cuisine fix. While their pho and bun certainly calm my cravings when they arise and I can’t trek to Buford Highway, it’s this tofu dish that has taken root in the food-obsessed part of my brain. Almost bite-sized cubes of tofu are lightly dusted with a seasoned rice flour and pan fried alongside jalapenos, scallions, onions and dried red chilies. Dipped into blobs of Sriracha and Hoisin sauce – I just mix the two sauces together off to the side – the tofu creamy on the inside with a bite of heat from the condiments. The balance of textures, seasoning and heat are just right and this dish is a knock-out. In case you needed an extra incentive to check it out, So Ba has a special on Tuesdays where each of their appetizers – this dish included – are three dollars. Wash it down with one of their $3 draft beers and you’re eating large for the price of a drive-through value meal.
For those not in Atlanta to enjoy this dish, there are some great recipes online for salt & pepper tofu that you can make at home: