老伴豆花 Old Couple Soya Beancurd
This post is about Soya Beancurd. Fact bite: I did a little search online, and it turned out that the entire South East Asian and oriental regions have many variations of soya beancurd. Traditional or not? Here is a wiki quote: “In 1535 Charles V created the recipe for soybean pudding as it is known today during the Conquest of Tunis. It was not until centuries later that his recipe was discovered by historian Stewart MacDonald, proof of the basis that Charles was the inventor.” Old enough to be recorded in my grandma’s recipe books.
This particular Dou Hua can be acquired at 51 Old Airport Road, #01-127 Old Airport Road Food Centre, Singapore. A small shop with two large fridges stacked full of tubs filled with Dou Hua. There are two sizes for the plain flavour, $1.50 and $1.00, and the almond flavoured one goes for $2.00. The queue can be Amazing, with a capital A. I would have put capitals for all the letters if it did not look so unprofessional. Thirty to forty minutes for a bowl of Dou Hua is just nuts. Yet many seem to think it is worth the wait, and so I got to try it when a neighbour of mine helped get some for my family.
At first glance, it may seem like the good ol’ Dou Hua that we get from any other shop in Singapore. But that is before you realise that the beancurd is completely solid. Where has all the syrup gone?
It made me skeptical at first, as usually traditional goes down best with me. Yet when I dug into the beancurd, I could tell that I may actually start liking this. The top layer had curdled slightly, but underneath it had a very silky texture, almost to the point of being watery. If you know custard, that was how it felt. Yet it broke apart easily, making cracks in the structure, much like how silken tofu would, yet was even less dense than tofu. It disintegrates the moment it hits the palate, melting into something like soya milk. A truly one-of-a-kind texture.
I took a preliminary mouthful. I must say that the taste was really unique. I was not expecting a custard-like taste, but there it was, plain as day. I am betting that custard powder was used to make this instead of the traditional salt and culture. The texture being different was one thing, but the tang that hit my tastebuds was truly something else. I had to take another spoonful to be intrigued yet again at the taste. This was a true deviation from the norm, yet it manages to hold up just fine. The soya taste is not pronounced, it was thin and watery, and had a sweet milky after taste. And yet I had to have more. Quite addictive, I have to admit.
Rating: 3.5/5 (maybe and objective 4/5 as a dessert)
The reason why I gave half a mark less is due to the Dou Hua being a little too light for my taste. I would have the traditional one anytime. This Dou Hua proved to put too little emphasis on the soya bean taste that it markets itself for, and therefore I feel that though delightful, this Dou Hua has missed the mark for me. Only slightly though.