the best thing i ever ate – tofu edition May 29, 2011

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:

Comments

Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) May 30, 2011 12:05 am

I find that anyone who doesn’t like tofu…that it all comes down to preparation. After getting hundreds of questions about HOW to prepare tofu so that everyone will like it, I wrote a big Tofu Making Tips post. Most important thing: PRESS the water out! If you dont do that, it’s gonna be mush. And no one other than babies like mush :)

Second best thing: go to this restaurant in Atltanta b/c clearly they serve up some mean looking, i.e. delish, tofu.

:)

Lee May 30, 2011 09:05 am

I’ve only been to So-Ba once. Looks like I just found a reason to go back!

Tricia @ {every}nothing wonderful May 30, 2011 01:05 pm

I love the idea of sweet potato starch! I’ve been using corn starch, which I hate, because the potato starch I had wasn’t cutting it but sweet potato might be a great solution…now to find it…

marla May 30, 2011 04:05 pm

Being I am a fan of tofu all ready I am completely sold on this. Love the idea of the seasoned rice flour.

Rachel May 30, 2011 08:05 pm

I love salt and pepper tofu! I always assumed that it was one of those so-simple-it must-be-hard things but I’m definitely going to give one of those recipes a try.

Mary at Deep South Dish May 31, 2011 11:05 am

I keep buying tofu and then can never think of what to do with it so it passes the expiration date & I end up throwing it away. I need to go and check out Averie’s post I guess!!

Vivianne Jun 2, 2011 02:06 pm

Dua is another delicious Vietnamese restaurant that is also in-town, but is only open from 11am-4pm. It is always packed and always good. Their lemongrass tofu will have you thinking and dreaming about it for days, and if you work nearby, you’ll want to eat lemongrass tofu everyday.

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meg jones Jun 3, 2011 07:06 pm

oh my god, THANK YOU. i’ve literally spent the last few days trying to learn how to deal with the tofu i bought (seriously, look at my blog if you don’t believe me – it’s humiliating). these are great ideas, and i can’t wait to get started. thank you!

Val Jun 26, 2011 10:06 am

Giving tofu a light crust is definitely the way to fall in love with it.

With no So-Ba near me I will be trying this recipe out in my kitchen! Can’t wait.

Sara Oct 19, 2012 12:10 pm

Soba is amazing I go there every Sunday for the “Hangover Special” I start with the salt and pepper tofu and I’m so in love with it delicious. Soba is amazing. Yum yum