Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dou Hua ("Flower" Tofu)

Dou hua is soft, warm tofu covered with toppings that add crunch and flavour. A dou hua vendor usually carries a pole across his or her shoulders with two large baskets attached. One of the baskets contains steaming soft tofu and the other contains the bowls and fixings.

For a while I had avoided dou hua due to a mouth numbing, terrible version I’d bought on Dian Nao Cheng (Computer Street.) One my way home the other day, though, I noticed one lady untraditionally carrying dou hua baskets on her bike and paying obvious attention to both the order and appearance of the condiments. First, she spooned up the tofu and added some ground Sichuan pepper. Then, a sprinkle of msg. Then a tablespoon or so of soy sauce, then chili oil, then chopped preserved vegetable, then crunchy dried soybeans, and last of all chopped green onion. We customers accepted the bowl, then stirred everything up and ate. She was only charging one yuan (15 cents) per order, when some vendors charge one and a half.

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