Grandma's chicken soup may have the general public snowed, but we know the truth: There is no food on earth more comforting than a freshly made batch of tofu pudding. Especially when said pudding comes from cult favorite soy purveyors V.P. Tofu (in Monterey Park) or Thanh Son (in Westminster, Orange County's Little Saigon).
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Either cloud white or palest green (the latter gets its slightly nuttier flavor by the addition of Pandan leaf), it is just barely sweet, even when drizzled liberally with coconut tapioca or ginger syrup. The center of a just-bought Styrafoam quart of soy pudding radiates heat like a hot water bottle on a sore neck, like sun-warmed stones, like a hug.
For the uninitiated, making a meal of the milky, silken stuff can feel a little bit unreal -- more like the colorless yet "completely and indescribably delicious" sustenance cooked up by a tentacled alien in Madeline L'Engle's classic A Wrinkle in Time than anything resembling an actual breakfast. But it does make an excellent one, especially when accompanied by a steaming cup of the Vietnamese coffee ca phe sua da . Should you find yourself down in the OC, Thanh Son's neighbor Tai Buu Paris very conveniently makes an excellent one.