23.06.2021, 23:43

Tao pho soybean curd rustic dish of Vietnamese on summer days

Tao pho (soybean curd), with a rustic flavor, is a favorite dish of many Vietnamese people on summer days.

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Tao pho with sugar water marinated with jasmine flowers. Photo: @haileyanhh/Instagram

Tao pho is a popular summer dish which is not only preferred by Vietnamese but also many people in Asian countries. No one knows exactly why the dish is called Tao pho. Several people reckon that it stems from “tofu”.

Tao pho is made from ground soybeans, with residues filtered out like making tofu but more carefully. It is then boiled, cooled and hardened. Tao pho with ice is one of the best dishes to cool down on summer days.

How is Tao pho different in three Vietnamese regions?

A traditional bowl of Tao pho in Nghia Do, Hanoi. Photo: VnExpress

People in three regions call the dish made from soybeans by different names. Hanoians call it Tao pho, Hai Phong residents call Tau pha, the central people call Dau hu while the southern people call Tau hu. In Hanoi, Tao pho is eaten with sugar water marinated with jasmine flowers. An Phu village in Nghia Do ward, Cau Giay district is considered the “birthplace” of Tao pho in the capital. Coming to the village, visitors will easily catch sight of sellers using a spoon or mussel shell to put Tao pho into a bowl and then add sugar water and ice. A standard bowl of Tao pho Hanoi has a slight sweetness and delicate fragrance from jasmines.

Dau hu in the central region has crushed or sliced ginger on top. Tau hu in the South is thicker and added coconut milk.

Dishes varied from Tao pho have appeared such as Tau hu tran chau duong den(Tau hu with pearls and black sugar), Tau hu with caramel or Tau hu with jelly and lotus seeds.

Recipe for Tau hu tran chau duong den (Tau hu with pearls and black sugar)


- 200g of soybeans

- 1.2 liters of water

- 220ml of fresh milk

- 60ml of whipping cream

- 15 - 18g gelatin

- 150g of black pearls

- 70g of South Korean black sugar

Tau hu with pearls and black sugar

How to make

Step 1: Soaking soybeans

Firstly, wash and soak soybeans in water for 8-10 hours until they expand 2-2.5 times compared to initially. Then wash them again and let drained.

Step 2: Grinding soybeans

Put soybeans and 1.2 liters of water into a blender once they are fine. Use a cloth sheet to filter out all residues. Utilize a sieve to filter again. Put soy juice into a pot, cook with medium-high heat, stir well and skim off foam. Once it is boiled, reduce the heat and cook for further 15 minutes.

Step 3: Cooking soy milk

Soak gelatin in cold water until it is soft. Mix the soy milk with fresh milk and whipping cream, cook the mixture on medium heat. Until the mixture is almost boiled, add gelatin and stir quickly until it completely dissolves. Take the pot out of the stove.

Step 4: Pouring soy milk into mold

Pouring soy milk into a mold (if using a plastic mold, you should wait for soy milk to cool down before pouring). Skim off foam and put the milk in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours so that it can completely be solidified.

Step 5: Cooking pearls

Put a pot of water on the stove. Once it is boiled, drop pearls in, stir well with high heat until they float onto the surface, lower heat and cook for further 20 minutes. Take the pot out of the stove and soak pearls for 10 minutes. Pour pearls into a bowl, add black sugar and mix well, let it cool down at room temperature.

Tau hu with caramel

- You can make Tau hu by following the aforementioned steps.

- How to make caramel:

+ Mix a yolk with a tablespoon of condensed milk and 50ml of fresh milk.

+ Put 50g of sugar in a pot, cook until it melts and has a dark brown color.

Photo: toinayangi

+ Quickly pour melted sugar into the caramel mold, wait for it slightly harden, pour the egg and milk mixture in and steam within 20-30 minutes.

Photo: toinayangi

+ Put cooked caramel in the refrigerator

Malie Nguyen