Tofu, soy bean or bean curd, for many is a no go. It's also the item that many associate with a plant based diet. It is delicious in dishes fried or steamed because of it's ability to take on the flavor of the dish. Yet, soy is not everyone's go to food.
Thankfully for New Yorkers there's an alternative to soy, and it might be one of the most delicious things we've ever tasted.
Fofu, a tofu alternative, is a common ingredient you'll find at Quintessence, a quiet eatery in the East Village, run by soft spoken and charming Mun Chan.
If you're lucky enough to see Mun running through the cafe, she will tell you the story about the many food items that they make in house right down to the mustard and ketchup on their famous raw burger.
Soy has a long history--some good some bad--extremely well detailed by Bon Appetite in this timeline. For Quintessence a raw food establishment that crafts delicious and nutrient dense meals, soy with all it's baggage was less appealing as an ingredient than the opportunity to create something from scratch.
Working with Irish moss, cashew and light salt seasoning, Fofu was born. Irish moss is a species of Algae found in the Atlantic along the coastlines of Europe and North America. It's strong nutrient base rich in vitamins and minerals makes it comparable to kale and blueberries. Quintessence prepares the moss with cashew to turn it into a block similar in appearance to tofu.
The result is a dense, flavorful and healthy ingredient for many of the dishes at Quintessence. It's slightly grainier and thicker in texture than tofu, but also creamier. For those who aren't fans of the texture of tofu, this will certainly be more appealing. Health-wise as a raw food item and through the combination of cashew and Irish moss, Fofu might be in a superfood category of its own.
The roll itself is quite filling and the Fofu is more satiating than tofu. But to top it off, enjoy the seaweed salad with tahini dressing--also a winner. It's crisp and fresh with a greater variety of sea veggies than on a typical seaweed salad. The house made sesame tahini dressing tops it off spectacularly. The Fofu roll and salad make a beautiful lunch pairing. Go now.