Tofu is an extremely versatile food that can be manipulated in countless ways. A few months ago, Dang Vu emailed me about an unusual tofu product that he his wife, Oanh, had developed. The Vietnamese-American couple was selling tofu misozuke at Bay Area farmer’s markets, packaged under their company name, Rau Om (the name of a citrusy cuminy fresh herb also called ngo om; see the Viet herb primer for more info).
I’d read about the Japanese preserved “tofu cheese” in Elizabeth Andoh’s Washoku cookbook and seen it in Tofu Hyaku Chin, a 1782 bestseller in Japan. Alas, I hadn’t tasted it yet. It the world of Asian tofu, tofu no miso-zuke (how Elizabeth spelled it) is somewhat esoteric stuff. That is, a Japanese market or restaurant isn’t likely to have it.
I tried Rau Om’s tofu misozuke and found its meaty creaminess to be pleasant. Then I wondered why and how someone was introducing this rare tofu product to the Bay Area market. So I asked Dang, 32, to tell me a bit more about their background and endeavor.