Our crack reporter has fallen head over heels in love with Taiwanese food!

Have you ever heard of douhua? It’s a popular snack in some parts of Asia, especially in Taiwan and China, made from soybean milk. It looks, feels and tastes like extremely tender tofu, like a tofu pudding.

It’s been popular in Japan since the tapioca boom hit around five years ago, but our crack reporter Mr. Sato hadn’t really heard about it until recently.

His love story with douhua first began when he stumbled across a restaurant called Wanamana, which specializes in Taiwanese breakfast, in Iidabashi, Tokyo. There, he became particularly fond of a dish called xian dou jiang (a savory soy milk soup), and began his journey of discovery into the world of Taiwanese breakfast food.

Mr. Sato decided to see if there were any other shops nearby that sold Taiwanese breakfast food, and came across Sao Dou Hua in Shinjuku, located in the commercial complex right next to Shinjuku Station. It turns out that this shop opened its first Japanese branch in July 2018, and has since expanded to Tokyo, Kanagawa, Osaka, and Fukuoka.

As he looked at the menu, Mr. Sato saw that they had his beloved xian dou jiang and Taiwanese-style crepes called dan bing.

They also had non-breakfast items, such as zha jiang mian (noodles served with fried bean sauce), ji-pai (Taiwanese breaded chicken), cong bing (green onion pancakes), and hujiao bing (Taiwanese pepper meat buns).

Such delicious food had been sitting under his nose for five whole years without him noticing, and he started to curse his former self for not paying more attention. He could have spent five whole years enjoying the culinary delights that Taiwan had to offer without even stepping foot on a plane!

But as he went to order, he noticed something else on the menu — douhua. Mr. Sato had never tried douhua before, but after his experience with xian dou jiang and knowing just how tasty Taiwanese soy milk-based food can be, just looking at the picture of the douhua made him instantly think “this looks delicious”.

While he was waiting for his douhua, Mr. Sato ordered a pot of white peach oolong tea (530 yen [US$3.96]). Mr. Sato is quite famously a coffee lover, but recently he’s been getting into tea. For Mr. Sato, coffee is great, but the feeling of instant relaxation you get when you take a sip of tea is just unmatched.

The tea here was great, with a sweet and pleasantly soothing aroma of peach. It was slightly sweet yet slightly bitter, and had a refreshing taste.

Soon after, the douhua arrived. Mr. Sato had gone with the ‘Yuen’ douhua, which cost 780 yen (US$5.83) The Yuen was made with taro and sweet potato dumplings, which is one of the traditional douhua toppings.

The syrup was mind-blowing. It was made from candied winter melon, and was incredibly sweet and tasty. Mr. Sato was hooked after one sip.

The douhua itself had a very unique texture. It was like tofu…but not quite, and like jelly…but not quite. If Mr. Sato had to describe it, it was similar to the smoothness of pudding. If he ate it blindfolded, he might have mistaken it for pudding.

The dumplings were a perfect match with the syrup. The texture was just right — nice and chewy — and it felt great to bite into them.

There were also some peanuts on top, which Mr. Sato assumed had been added for their crunchy texture. But when he bit into them, he was surprised to find that they were actually very soft!

Douhua itself is low in calories and is said to be abundant in plant-based protein, but — almost as if to balance out the delicious, healthy douhua — the syrup must contain an insane amount of calories. Still, even if douhua isn’t the most healthy food in the world, Mr. Sato definitely wants to try it again. Many, many more times, in fact.

If you haven’t tried douhua, Mr. Sato heartily recommends to give it a go. Maybe you’ll fall in love with Taiwanese cuisine, like Mr. Sato has!

Restaurant information
Sao Dou Fa Shinjuku Mylord Store / 騒豆花 新宿ミロード店
Address: Shinjuku-ku, 1-1-3 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku Mylord 7F
東京都新宿区西新宿1丁目1-3 新宿ミロード7F
Open: 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (Last order at 9:00 pm)

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