Just to start off with, I should mention that having attended an international school for the first 8 years of schooling, I am pretty much colour blind when it comes to skin colour. Most of the time I do forget I’m oriental – or at least it just doesn’t play that much of a big factor in my life. I use my skin colour for a coarse joke or two (“Is it cuz I is yellow?”) but really, I live in a very sheltered (or blind) world when it comes to race.
That said, I’ve been thinking lately about tofu. This probably won’t come as a big surprise given the title of this post, but I really love tofu. And I’ve noticed that my british friends…. well they generally don’t. Even my vegetarian friend can only stand so much tofu. Me, I’d eat it three times a day everyday if I can get it.
Maybe it’s something to do with the difference in how it’s cooked. I’ve had tofu served in many different ways, deep fried with salt and chilli as a delicious snack in Indonesia (tahu goreng), fresh or steamed with oyster sauce and fried garlic (Mom makes this, don’t know if it’s actually a named dish?), cubed and served with pork and delicious spicy sauce (mapo tofu), stuffed with meat (Yong tow fu from Malaysia, where ‘towfu’ is the cantonese way of saying ‘tofu’)…
I’ve never had tofu cooked in the ‘British’ way, but I can imagine it may very well be terrible. I’m thinking soggy overboiled tofu, the way the British do… well… most of their vegetables!
But it’s not just that. White friends have tried the dishes I’ve described and still not been overly fond of tofu. Maybe it’s because they’ve not been brought up on it. Maybe it’s because they already have an idea in the back of their head that it’s not supposed to taste very good.
Or maybe, it’s because I’m just genetically predisposed to like tofu. Wikipedia tells me that tofu was invented in ancient China. I can very well imagine that tofu was the only protein that a lot of people in ancient China could get their hands on. So I can imagine that if you lived in ancient China, couldn’t get much protein apart from tofu, and you didn’t like it so much, well…. goodbye genepool!
I don’t know. I should say that I have a very very limited knowledge of ancient China and what people had access to. I could be completely wrong. But I do know that I like tofu a lot more than my white friends and, well, an interesting answer to that admittedly very minor conundrum would be genetics.