San Jose Tofu

by foodhoe on August 23, 2007

175 Jackson Street, San Jose

Have you ever had fresh tofu that is still warm? I think a lot of people view tofu as a bland squishy meat substitute and wrinkle their noses at the very thought of eating it. Tofu is bland by itself in the same way that fresh mozzarella cheese is, but both serve as marvelous backdrops when simply adorned by fresh herbs and condiments.

San Jose Tofu is a small shop in Japantown where you can get tofu that is handmade fresh every day (except Sundays when it is closed).

They pull the tofu from plastic buckets filled with water and slide them onto styrofoam trays in plastic bags to protect the delicate tofu blocks while in transit. They also sell okara, which is a by product of the tofu making process and in the back is a small walk in space where they sell other packaged Japanese foods.

I generally put the tofu into a large plastic container filled with water and store it in the refrigerator, changing the water every day. My favorite way to eat the tofu is plain, served with green onion, sliced shiso, grated ginger, dried bonito shavings and soy sauce. The stackable fondue plates with little compartments I got at Sur la Table are perfect for this…

The soft curds of the tofu are greatly enhanced with the bright clean flavors of soy, green onions and fresh ginger. It is transformed by the pure elemental flavors into something delicious that I crave.

I made a shiso pesto that was sensational drizzled with sesame oil and tamari shoyu.

This is one of my favorite summertime dishes because it is light but filling and best of all, requires no cooking.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

rowena August 23, 2007 at 10:36 pm

I would kill for fresh tofu….ok, that’s a little drastic, but if a tofu producer opened up shop in my neck of the woods, I would be in tofu heaven!
sigh….

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Eric August 24, 2007 at 8:43 am

San Jose Tofu is so good! Best tofu in the bay, in my opinion. Your preparations look delicious.

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foodhoe August 24, 2007 at 2:53 pm

Rowena, yes but think of all the other handmade specialty items you can pick up nearby that we dont’ even know exist! Sometimes though, nothing beats that specific craving…

Thanks Eric!

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Chubbypanda August 26, 2007 at 7:10 am

Did they move? I looked for them the last time I was there, and they were gone. The store looks newer, too. Or maybe it’s a different tofu place I”m remembering.

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Arlene Damron September 14, 2007 at 12:35 am

Absolutely the best “artisan” tofu around! They’re temporarily closed for electrical upgrades following a small fire in an exterior wall which didn’t damage the interior at all.

Speaking of other handmade nearby specialty items ….stop by Santo Market at 245 E. Taylor St (Japantown) & ask for a package (or more) of their delicious char siu bao (pork buns). Absolutely the best ever! Perfect bun-in-hand snack for an on-the-go lifestyle. Microwave for 40 seconds and prepare to feast.

For dessert stop by Shuei-do manju-ya for their delicious handmade sweet bean and mochi (steamed rice) confections. Perfect with green tea! 217 E. Jackson St.

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foodhoe September 14, 2007 at 5:57 am

Hi Arlene, thanks for the info, I had no idea about the fire! I hope they will be open soon because I want to go pick up some pork buns (I love pork buns for breakfast) and mochi and manju too!

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manju January 1, 2008 at 9:06 pm

Hi, one of your readers sent me a link to this post because I mentioned my memories of this tofu shop from 18 years ago when I lived in Santa Clara. It is still the standard by which I measure all other tofus (only here in Hawaii have any come close, but still none are quite as good). Count me as a new reader to see which of my remembered favorites are still around. Thanks for a lovely post, I will enjoy browsing your archives. : )

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