We’re huge fans of Hodo Soy Beanery. Even the firm tofu is cloud-like, and we can’t get enough of the delicate, handmade yuba (a.k.a. tofu skin). We started off by featuring their products in our cooking kits only, but due to their undeniable popularity, we’re showcasing Hodo in more and more of our other dishes, too.
As much as we love their tofu, we also love their story. As a child in Vietnam, Minh Tsai would walk to the neighborhood tofu shack with his grandfather to purchase tofu, take it home, and eat it, just hours after it was made.
Years later, now in the States, Minh searched high and low for the fresh-tasting yuba, tofu, and soy milk of his youth, to little avail. His discontent led him to learn to make them in the traditional manner, eventually creating Hodo Soy to share his passion for good tofu with his community here.
At Hodo Soy, Minh selects organic, non-GMO soybeans with the fat and protein content necessary to make the richest, best-tasting soy products. Staff members at the Beanery production facility in the Bay Area are trained to become skilled artisans. Through rigorous standards, Hodo has changed people’s ideas of tofu, from a meat substitute for vegetarians to a gourmet food in its own right.
Demand initially grew by word of mouth and local farmers market stands. Nowadays, Hodo Soy products can be found nationwide at leading specialty grocers, as well as the Munchery menu, but they are still made by hand at the Beanery in Oakland, CA.
A group from Munchery took a tour of the facility, which started with a tasting of their products. “I was surprised at how flavorful the tofu products we sampled were,” said one employee. “I usually just buy the cheapest most basic tofu, but when I tasted Hodo’s, I could definitely taste a difference — Hodo’s tasted so fresh.”
Then we hit the tofu floor, where soy beans are soaked, ground and filtered into soy milk, and then curdled and pressed into tofu.
Everyone’s favorite part of the tour, though, was the yuba room. Trays of fresh soy milk are left to develop skins on top, which are cut free and hung up to semi-dry before being folded and packaged. The resulting yuba can be used as a wrap or cut into strips like noodles.
“I was mesmerized by the yuba-making process,” said another employee. “It was so quiet as they delicately cut sheet after sheet of yuba to hang, it was monotonous but wonderfully peaceful and calm. Plus, I loved to eat it — I’ve bought Yuba noodles 4 times since our tour!”
Look for tofu and yuba dishes on our menu, and check out this quick overview of our tour: