Tofu shmo’fu—you’ve earnt yourself a special little place in our hearts. Add it to a stir-fry, chuck it in ya handmade burgers or munch it down covered in sweet-chilli-phillaay! There’s not much one can’t do with a food that’s been dubbed ‘as good as chicken’.
It comes as little surprise that restaurants are now boasting a myriad of tofu-inspired dishes. From Asian to Indian to Western cuisine, it’s errywhere these days. So whether you’re a meat-free virgin or a loyal vegetarian, here are the best tofu dishes in Auckland you need in your life, ASAP.
Moo Chow Chow
It’s safe to say Moo Chow Chow are the king ping of Thai cuisine. The team are masters at packing each dish with a delicate yet powerful punch of flavour, and their tofu dish is not short of deliciousness. Think fried tofu (yep, fried!) then coated in tomato, ginger, coriander and tamarind dressing. Wash it down with a glass or two of Pinot and you’ve got yourself a fine dining experience. Did we mention it’s BYO too? Bring on five o’clock, we’re about to get tofu’ rolled.
The newly opened Happy Boy have rocked Auckland’s burger scene, changing the way we chow down. What was once a Western food has (nearly) been beaten by the Asian-Fusion boa bun. So when we tried this squishy little bun, paired with a Malaysian satay drenched tofu patty, slaw and coriander, we may have shed a few happy tears. This may be the best tofu dish in Auckland, it’s that damn delicious.
The Blue Breeze Inn
The place to be on a Friday evening, The Blue Breeze Inn boasts the finest selection of Modern Pacific Chinese in town. It’ll send your tastebuds directly to flavour town—stopping in for a boogie on the way. For something a little lighter, we recommend grabbing the smoked tofu and herb salad—mainly because the sesame and black vinegar dressing it’s paired with is the bees knees. Also, because they’ve named the dish Buddha’s Delight, we dig that, too.
The ultimate BYO joint, New Flavour has had our back on consecutive Friday eves. Arrive with a bottle of red in hand and high heels on ya feet and you’ll be leaving as happy as Holly Golightly. If you’re brave enough to surpass a sizzling plate of hot dumplings, the tofu dishes are equally as scrum. Our favourite is the sweet and sour tofu because we’re all about that saucey life, but the dried tofu and cucumber salad is equally as epic.
Hello Burmese-Indian street food, where have you been all our lives? Honeybear will have you experiencing tofu in an unimaginable manner. Our pick is the fried Burmese and ginger salad served alongside crispy lentils, smashed peanuts, green chilli and fresh coconut…holy-yum. Located in Ponsonby Central, this is the spot to hit up before a night out on the town. The menu favours quality over quantity, each dish made to impress the fussiest of critics. Is Gordon Ramsey in town?
Steamed buns make another appearance on the list of Auckland’s best tofu. This time it’s at our ol’ friends in Mt Albert, Chinoiserie. It’s the cutest of eateries, dimly lit with outside seating set to impress. Without a doubt, you’ve got to order the house bun with pressed tofu, slaw, cucumber, fried shallots and satay sauce. Pair this with the barbecue marinated deep fried tofu and you’ve got yourself the scrummiest vegetarian meal. Not to mention one that’s packed in protein! Gains?
We don’t blame you for the numerous times you’ve walked past Cafe Hanoi without blinking an eye. Its humble exterior may not scream “eat me” but when you step inside, man-oh-man, you’ll be hit with a smell straight from the gods above. This restaurant is the essence of elegance. Boasting three flavoursome tofu dishes, vegetarians find themselves spoilt for choice. Our pick? The fried lemongrass tofu with cinnamon smoked mushrooms, chilli, wilted spinach and pickled mung beans. Hallelujah!
No list would be complete without a little Japanese, right? This is why we love Janken’s extensive list of vege dishes. Start with the organic tofu and chunky vegetables cooked in a sesame sauce to get your tastebuds soaring. Then opt for the tofu sukiyaki for the main, a delicious rice noodle dish in a sweet soy broth. There’s also vegan deserts to finish or, if you’re needing a little dairy loving, the coconut ice cream is a fave.
We may have found Auckland’s most plentiful tofu restaurant. Industry Zen have an entire section labelled ‘The Tofu’ which welcomes four decadent dishes. Although this may not be entirely vegetarian, it’s too good not to share—drenched tofu in sizzling spicy pork mince oil! We’d probably pick this dish over chocolate pudding and that’s sayin’ something. What’s more, melting teriyaki tofu on a sizzling hot plate. Hangry yet?
This delicate Mt Eden restaurant is home to one of the best tofu dishes in Auckland. It helps a tad that it’s a spicy curry too. Think vege curry with tofu, eggplant, bamboo and greens served on a heaped serving of sticky white rice. It's all about that vege life at Bolaven, can ya tell? Or if curries not how you roll, opt for the tofu and mushroom dish served on toasted rice with aromatic herbs.
There is seven—we repeat—seven, tofu dishes on Spicy House’s menu! If you’re a true tofu virgin, then this is the place to get taste testing. There’s tofu with sweet chilli sauce, tofu with black bean sauce, deep fried tofu with spicy sauce and so, so much more. The menu is extensive in every department…so if fried noodles are a bit of you, there may or may not be six different styles to get ya teeth around.
Image Credit: The Blue Breeze Inn