We sat down with partner Howie Tran about Soy Good, the Garden Grove shop appealing to vegans and boba enthusiasts alike with soy-based and dairy-free drinks, snacks, and desserts. Here are six things to know.
The menu is 100 percent vegan.
“We set out to be soy-based and dairy free. And after opening for just a few weeks, we saw that there is a bigger demand for being fully vegan. We’re getting a lot of support from vegans. They come in and it’s finally something they can have versus if they go to a normal boba shop, it’s usually all dairy milk. So having one shop that specializes in non-dairy boba and making it taste good instead of just replacing the milk has been really exciting.”
2 It is a family-owned business with San Jose roots.
“Back in San Jose, my partner Mary Dao’s father owned a tofu shop that did really well. It was named Hung Vuong after a king in Vietnam. He sold it in 2006 and moved down to be closer to his kids in Orange County. Mary’s dad has a really strong passion for tofu and soy milk. He’s been doing it for at least 35 years. Mary wanted to open a new shop that was a little bit more modernized. They contacted me because I’m a family friend (I’m best friends with Mary’s younger sister—we went to high school together). They asked if I wanted to be a partner to help with the operations, branding, and development.
The response to the shop has been really good so far, surprisingly. I say surprisingly because there are so many boba shops especially where we’re at. On top of that, we’re a brand new concept. With my experience as a partner of Crepe Coop, we had the backing of the Packing House and all the other vendors, so people were always there. This is a standalone store, so I didn’t have any expectations, but we are growing a lot faster than we expected.”
3 The boba drinks contain unique toppings and add-ins such as soy pudding and black sesame paste, creating interesting flavor profiles.
“I got the idea of turning tofu desserts into drinks because I would just do that myself. I would buy the soft tofu and I would just dump the syrup in and I would just drink it out of a boba straw. I noticed that I liked eating and drinking that more than actual boba.”
4 The soy milk, syrups, and soy pudding are made in-house.
“We go and get the produce every other day or on a weekly basis. We source our soybeans from the U.S. Mary’s dad and husband (David Luong) are the ones actually producing al the soy milk and pudding. We source ingredients such as the fresh taro and pandan from a vendor. But everything is pretty much made fresh. Our mung bean is made fresh. We actually make our soy milk a little thicker with a higher protein content so we can get that creaminess. There’s a lot of labor that goes into it.”
5 The shop also offers silky sweet soy pudding and savory fried tofu snacks. You can even bring a fresh tofu brick home to cook with.
“Soy pudding is very traditional in Asian cultures including Chinese, Vietnamese, and Filipino cultures. In Filipino culture, they have taho. We wanted to take it a step further than just putting your typical ginger or brown sugar syrup. We wanted to add more flavors to it because the texture of pudding can take on a lot of different flavors really well. You can eat (the tofu brick) by itself but they come in bricks where people can take it home and cook it however they like. We have different flavors. Some people sauté it with whatever they’re cooking (vegetables or meat) or sometimes they put it in soup.”
6 The shop sells reusable boba straws and lets you bring your own reusable tumbler.
12192 Brookhurst St,