Dining | Orange Coast Magazine
 

The Global Diner: Fried Tofu

Crunchy, sweet, and salty, it satisfies the senses

Tofu gets a bad rap, typically written off as bland, unappetizing blocks of soy protein. But with all its craggy little nooks, it’s the ideal sponge to absorb flavors. And when properly fried, it takes on a whole new dimension, as with several renditions from Southeast Asian cultures that have mastered tofu to golden, savory perfection.

At the humble Siam Taste of Asia in Santa Ana, the star dish arrives on an oval platter, each perfect cube of deep-fried protein splashed with a garlicky soy sauce. The battered and crackly exterior gives way to a silky interior, and there’s an accompanying bowl of dipping sauce for irresistible bites of sweet and salty. Resist popping them into your mouth too quickly—they’re often piping hot.  

For takeout tofu with a twist, New Hung Vuong in Westminster offers two flavorful and fragrant options—one studded with wood ear mushroom, onions, and garlic, and one embedded with minced lemongrass and chili. It’s just $1 for six pieces so you can mix and match. Leave the box slightly open so the tofu won’t be mushy by the time you get home. Dunk the pieces in soy sauce or nuoc cham, a dipping elixir with garlic, chili, lime, and fish sauce.

Although it’s renowned for its Chinese-style lobster and salt-and-pepper crab, Tan Cang Newport Seafood in Santa Ana serves a stellar simple fried tofu. After the cubes are fried, they’re wok-tossed with chopped green onions, cilantro, and fresh chilies. The kicker is the dipping sauce, with sliced jalapenos, for a bit of heat—make sure to ask for it. Enjoy this dish with steamed white rice and call it a meal.

Siam Taste of Asia
3520 W. First St. Santa Ana, 714-418-9678

New Hung Vuong
9098 Bolsa Ave. Westminster 714-622-4812

Tan Cang Newport Seafood
4411 W. First St., Santa Ana 714-531-5146 tancangnewportseafood.com

 

Photograph by Priscilla Iezzi

This article originally appeared in the January 2014 issue.

Leave a comment:

· Subscribe to comments
Be the first to comment here.

Recently Reviewed

We frequently review restaurants in the Main Course, Rediscovery, and Bites sections of our print magazine and website. Here's a list of the most recently-reviewed restaurants!

Wine Program Review

  • Seasons 52 Fresh Grill Offers Impressive Wine List

    I recently dined at Seasons 52 Fresh Grill in South Coast Plaza, and found the wine program to be exceptional, both for the scope of its extensive wine list, and it’s attentive wine service. It’s gratifying to see that the restaurant, which promotes a healthy diet and prides itself in seasonally inspired cooking with every item on the menu less than 475 calories, considers wine an important part of a wholesome lifestyle. Read More
 
Close

Advertisement