Eat This Now: Fried Fungus Tofu from V.P. Tofu

Fried fungus tofu from VP Tofu
Fried fungus tofu from VP Tofu
Jim Thurman

We've written about V.P. Tofu before, and with good reason. When it comes to all things soy, it's hard to top the small Monterey Park storefront. We've featured their soy puddings, ranging from plain with ginger syrup, to pandan and black sesame flavors. But, until now, we've neglected one of the best tofu items to be found anywhere in Greater Los Angeles -- fried fungus tofu with clear noodles.

While "healthy" and "fried" are contradictions in terms, fried tofu is a common item in the San Gabriel Valley, where it routinely shows up on menus at large restaurants and tiny teahouses. As good as fried tofu can be, either in standard or salt & pepper form, it pales compared to this.

When stepping up to order, don't look to the wall menu. Instead, look to the counter top, where you'll see a few laminated pages held together by a single metal ring. Leaf through and you'll find it, listed as "Fried fungus tofu w/ clear noodle."

You will wait a few minutes while your order is prepared, giving you time to look around at the other snacks, desserts and mock meats, as well as peruse the refrigerator case of soy milks, soy puddings and teas. V.P. is takeout only, so you'll have to go elsewhere to eat. Fortunately, there is a large park within two blocks. There are also many parking lots nearby, as well as curbside parking on adjacent streets -- just heed the posted signage.

Inside, the tofu has an omelet-like texture with chunks of flavorful fungus and threads of glass noodles woven through each piece. While the menu page for the item notes, "Sorry, no sauce," no apology is necessary. Dipping sauces would just detract from the flavor. With 10 good-sized pieces for $2, it makes for a great snack item or small lunch.

Follow Jim Thurman on Twitter @JThur01.

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