Bún đậu is one of my favourite street food dishes. After the American War, it was known as “food for the poor”. For that reason, in the late nineties and early naughts, this dirt cheap dish might even have been looked down upon. Not anymore. One famous Vietnamese fashion model has opened up a Bún đậu shed down south. In 2015, you could almost say that Bún đậu is one small part of a nostalgia wave in Việt Nam. A wave that sees the fashionable Việt youth of Hà Nội riding around on old Eastern European motorbikes. Bikes that only farmers, the poor and oddball expats ever rode in the mid to late 90’s. How times change, huh.
Mrs. Nhung cooking up lunch.
Bún đậu lunch for two.
During the research for this book, I visited some tofu makers in the suburbs of the capital. I didn’t include any of the following in the book.
This is one half of the husband and wife team who make tofu on Đường Xuân Đỉnh market to the north of central Hà Nội, Việt Nam. They’ve produced tofu here for 14 years. First, the soy beans are soaked and washed, then ground, filtered and boiled. Yeast is added. The mixture is covered for five minutes.
It is stirred as it begins to set. And then it’s transferred into a series of long wooden troughs lined with muslin cloth.
And spread using a spatula.
The muslin is wrapped around the surface of the raw mixture and a slab of wood is pegged on top so that the tofu sets into a tight rectangluar shape.
After another five minutes. the tofu is fully set. It’s taken out of the wooden contraption, placed onto a table and cut into ready to buy portions. This couple sell 30kg of tofu per day. They also sell bags of fresh soy milk. The by-product from making the tofu is used to feed pigs.
Originally blogged in September, 2014.