Cost: 100 yen
Found at: Yamadai
In honor of @とうふtofu, I bring you: tofu. Whoever you are @とうふtofu – you’re great, keep doing your thing.
If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be eating tofu as a dessert, I would have made drastically different life choices. What kind of life involves vegan dessert, after all? It is not worth thinking about.
But we grow, we mature, we dabble with veganism in college, and we reach that stage of life where we can look into the weird dessert isle of the grocery store and think: “I bet I could eat that.”
Or, in my case, “This thing is 20 yen on sale.”
But even if it had been full price, it would have been worth it. It takes a little coaxing to get this lump of black tofu out of the packaging, and after a significant amount of frustrated whacking, it flops out of its plastic like an unhappy jell-o brick. There is very little in its appearance to indicate that it is edible. The dark, rubbery tofu clashes harshly with the orange-gold sauce that you pour over top of it from a little, plastic pouch. There’s something in that combination of colors that speaks to the ancient mammalian brain (or the brain that has watched too many forensic programs) and what it says is “long dead body” not “tasty snack.”
However, if you can coax yourself into tasting it (despite your better judgement), you will find a surprisingly delightful treat. It’s not putrid or tasteless, but pleasantly inoffensive. The tofu is soft and mild and lightly flavored with sesame, and the sauce is rich and syrupy and pleasantly granular. The combination of the soft, nutty tofu and the sweet, course sauce is both texturally rich and flavorfully balanced. It tastes like something that I might get in a much fancier place then my share house kitchen for a much higher price than the supermarket was asking. Appearance aside, it’s a tiny slice of luxury to help fight off the winter blues – and I highly recommend it!