Sugar Rush: Tofu Pudding at Amaz Soya
Note: This venue has closed.
You can find fresh tofu pudding—douhua—here and there in New York's Chinatowns. Most of the vendors are small, curbside operations with limited options, often just a sweet syrup, maybe laced with ginger, to pour on top. You pour the syrup on, scoop up some wobbly tofu, and dig in.
The six-month-old Amaz Soya in Flushing is also a curbside operation—it's just inside a small micro-mall on Roosevelt, about five feet away from some cell phone accessories—but it offers a more luxe version of the simple dessert for $1 to $4 depending on size and toppings.
Amaz Soya's tofu is made daily, and it's creamy, nutty, and fresh in all the right ways. But the real draw here is the toppings bar, a spread of fruit and herb jellies, spherified passion fruit juice, shards of young coconut, and the like. There are over a dozen to choose from, along with two options for a syrup (ginger and brown sugar) and two serving temperatures of tofu (hot and chilled).
Shown above is grass and floral jellies as well as those pearls of passion fruit juice. You press them against the roof of your mouth and they pop open, sending juice everywhere. The pearls are a fine foil for the tofu, and perhaps the cheapest way to get some modernist cuisine in your dessert diet.
The ginger syrup isn't as potent as it could be, but it amps up milder toppings like these stewed peanuts. They're boiled, not roasted, so their bean-y side comes out to compliment the bean-y custard.
Amaz Soya also deploys its toppings on shaved ice, which I'll have to hit up on a return visit. Once I finish the extra tofu I took home.