We have an unlikely new hero on our menu, one that doesn’t usually get a lot of glory. We’ve partnered with Tofu Master Minh Tsai at Hodo in Oakland to bring his carefully handcrafted organic and GMO-free tofu to our fans, and we think it’s pretty special.
You can try their incredible artisan-crafted tofu on our Vegan Banh Mi and on our catering menu tofu skewers. This tofu is unlike any you’ve tried before, with a clean, pure flavor and addictive texture. But like the title of our “Vegan For All” menu suggests, this ingredient isn’t reserved only for vegans and vegetarians! We think Mendo fans of all stripes will love it. Hodo knows that tofu has a bad rap, which is why they work extra hard to make the most delicious product sure to change the mind of anyone with a preconceived notion of tofu as nothing more than a bland white blob. What they’re doing is continuing a 2000+ year history of traditional tofu making, using time-honored techniques and the best ingredients to create tofu that is impossible to compare to what’s typically commercially available.
Realizing they could have some influence on soy crops by building relationships with growers, Hodo started sourcing their organic and GMO-free soybeans from an organic farming co-op in the Midwest, promoting biodiversity by encouraging farmers to grow different varieties of soybeans for them (as long as the beans meet their careful specifications for protein, fat, and sugar content to ensure the best soy milk for making tofu). They purchased custom designed equipment for their “beanery,” or tofu factory, from one of the oldest tofu equipment manufacturers in Asia, and they designed their sparkling clean facility to minimize the use of precious water and electricity resources.
Hodo’s entire approach to making tofu aligns closely with Mendo’s own outlook on our role within the food system. Both of us have a passion for making delicious and compelling food, but believe that we can do even more. “Hodo” literally means “good bean,” and Minh applies that metaphor to everything they do, including sourcing the very best soybeans for their products, helping grow healthy communities, and attracting and supporting passionate and talented people. We are honored to be working with Minh and his team to share the flavor and the story of their truly unique tofu.