You know how people say that fresh food tastes much better than processed? For something like tofu, I find this is especially true.
Edmonton is lucky enough to have a place that makes fresh tofu and other soya bean products daily. Ying Fat Food Products, Ltd. makes big vats of tofu and soy milk. While I think the majority of their business is through wholesale and commercial sales, they do a brisk business to anyone who walks into the door.
Along with tofu and soy milk, you can also purchase dofu fa (soy bean custard), deep fried tofu, homemade fish balls, dried soy beans, and fresh bean sprouts, just to name a few of their products. Sometimes they even have sticky rice wrapped in leaves – a less oily version that contains soy beans along with meat.
On my most recent visit I picked up a jug of soy milk, some deep fried tofu, and a quart of dofu fa.
This soy milk is unlike the stuff you can buy from Silk, So Good, etc. It is light tasting, and has a slight soya aftertaste. If you’ve tasted Vitasoy’s soy milk before then you’ll have a better idea of what fresh soy milk from an Asian grocer tastes like. The ingredients are simple – soya bean, water and sugar. It is available sweetened or unsweetened, and in 1 L, 2 L and 4 L sizes.
The deep fried tofu is soft and flavourful. It adds some great flavour to stir fries, and also can be eaten cold.
The dofu fa (or tofu fa, or soy bean custard) is a dessert that can be eaten cold or hot. It is very soft and very delicate – similar in texture to a panna cotta. It is usually eaten with a small amount of sugar syrup or ginger syrup spooned on top.
With this dofu fa, however, I usually just eat it straight out of the carton. It’s so fresh that it has a slight sweetness of it’s own and I find that I don’t need to make it overly sweet.
Like any fresh food product, these items can spoil quickly so it’s best to only buy a small amount that you can consume within a few days. They do speak a little English; point to what you want if all else fails. And if you go during the weekend, be prepared to wait in a (quickly moving) line. The one thing I don’t like about this place is the sketchy location. I’ve never been bothered by the homeless nearby and have always felt safe, but over the years I have seen a few things that I would have rather avoided….
Ying Fat Food Products Ltd.
The best way to make the sugar syrup is to melt Chinese yellow rock sugar in some hot water, which will produce a simple syrup.
To make the ginger syrup, take your simple syrup and either stew 2-3 chunks of peeled ginger in the mixture, or use grated ginger. You may have to strain out the ginger however, as the syrup is supposed to be a clear, amber-coloured liquid.