Chinese Cheese Jingle Bells
Western foodies always doubt if there is cheese in China. Northern Chinese love yogurt because their ancestors are hunters and raise live stocks. Tibetans make very lovely smoked yak cheese.
Many Southern Chinese are lactose intolerant. Their ancestors are paddy growers. The major source of protein for is mainly from soya. I guest most foodies love tofu. Some call fermented tofu Chinese cheese because the way it is made is exactly like cheese. In this sense, you may call fermented tofu the Chinese cheese.
In the old days, fermented tofu is like European cheese. Different regions have different mould to ferment the curd. Anhui, Suzhou, Wu Han, Vietnam, Beijing and Canton all have their specialties. In Canton, Shiu Kou town in Xinhui used to make very good fermented tofu. However with the urbanization, we can hardly find real Shiu Kou fermented tofu on the market. Who will invest this type of handicraft with humble margin?
Can we pair fermented tofu with wine like Western cuisine when we have unfinished bottle at the end of the meal? The answer is no because most fermented tofu on the market is with additives and preservatives. Your taste buds will complain immediately.
There are always exceptions. I came across a very nice fermented tofu from Tainan Yujing county. They have their unique style of adding rice wine, wine lees, sugar and salt and soya. These ingredients are all-natural preservatives. Of course, credit goes the natural artesian water and the sustainable farming in this region. I studied the history of tofu in Taiwan and I guessed, most likely, Taiwan got this skill from Ryukyu Islands when it was under the sovereignty of Ming Empire.
It is very smooth, full of the natural aroma of soya with the enhancement of rice wine. Bottle life is 2 year. It will last for 9 months after opening. It goes very well with Champagne, red and white. Indeed, whatever dishes that cheese is the ingredient, this ferment tofu offer you an alternative. I made pasta, risotto, bread spreading, ice cream, salad dressings with it and the effect is overwhelming. I would say the manufacturing team is the Buena Vista Social Club in Tainan because they are all elderlies.
Annual production is 2000 bottles only. The video posted is an example for a simple dish as an amuse bouche. I am sure this fermented tofu will inspire you for your home cooking.
Glossary: <Jingle Bells> is a common snack of Hangzhou in China. It is so crispy that it makes crackling sounds when you bite it.
這腐乳很嫩滑，在米酒的烘托下天然的黃豆香更為彰顯。可以保存兩年，開瓶後可以存九個月。可以配香檳、紅酒和白葡萄酒。任何可以用起司早的菜餚，這腐乳都可以提供多一個選擇。我曾用它來做義大利麵、義大利米飯、塗麵包、冰淇淋、沙律醬，效果都很不錯。這腐乳的製作團隊就像古巴的Buena Vista Social Club 樂隊，因為他們都是長者。