HONG KONG: Following a successful series An Ode to Eggs and an Ode to Rice, Asia’s best female chef Vicky Lau of Tate Dining Room in Hong Kong will present a refined single-ingredient lunch menu with a French Chinese twist.
This time, she will be putting the versatile tofu in the spotlight, Asia’s most popular soy-based protein.
“Tofu is an often-misunderstood ingredient with a bad reputation. However, I hope to prove that tofu is in fact one of the most enjoyable and nutritious dishes to be had during the summer season,” said Vicky Lau. “Never have I worked with an ingredient that is as versatile and with such a variety of textures as tofu – much more than any meat or seafood.”
Guests may rest assured that at Tate Dining Room, everything that enters the kitchen is sustainably and locally sourced where possible as a basic standard. From the seeds of farmers, heritage and heirloom crops, production methods and fishing techniques, to the conditions under which livestock is raised and slaughtered — all are taken into consideration before putting together a new menu.
An Ode to Tofu features elevated renditions of protein-rich tofu, an ingredient so adaptable that it can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. Not only is tofu renowned for being a good source of protein, it is also gluten-free, low in calories and contains all nine essential amino acids in addition to iron, copper, zinc, calcium, and vitamin B1.
In Chinese, “tofu” translates directly to “fermented beans”. Thus, during the creation of this menu, Chef Vicky Lau experimented with various beans from around the world, from soybeans and black beans to light red beans, Roman beans, and more. The stand-out was a non-GMO bean from Canada for its distinct soya flavour. She also explored the different tofu coagulants, such as nigari, gysu and Epsom salt, discovering that each variant produces a completely different texture and mouthfeel. An Ode to Tofu comprises of fresh, homemade tofu – which differs vastly from its artificial-tasting store-bought counterpart – as well as tofu skin from a traditional local tofu shop.
The menu starts with Crispy Marinated Tofu, a dish created out of Chef Vicky’s love for deep- fried tofu, and which comes with a nostalgic whiff of stinky tofu that is marinated first in fermented shrimp and cheese broth. The second course is Cold Noodles with yuba, which is a thin sheet that forms when boiling a vat of soy milk, and beef tartare. The inspiration behind thisdish comes from Chef Vicky’s own ma po tofu, and likewise, is served with an assortment of Sichuan spices.
Reviving an ancient Chinese recipe from Sichuan, Chicken Tofu does not in fact contain any tofu, but resembles the same soft, gelee texture. This is complemented by Iberico ham, braised abalone and light verbena oil. The heartwarming Chinese-style Lobster Stew features tofu and spice oil, and this is followed by a dessert of Soy Cream with lychee gelee and rose sponge. To conclude the tofu feast, enjoy bites of mignardises from the famous TATE dessert trolley, or a supplemental selection of house cheeses.
Lunch at TATE Dining Room is available on Fridays and Saturdays from 12pm-2:30pm.