Most of my friends don't like tofu, and I don't blame them. The stuff you buy at the grocery store is so dull it tastes rancid. But I remember the tofu I used to eat in Japan, made fresh by the local tofu-ya, or the excellent blocks from San Jose Tofu in Silicon Valley. It's a completely different flavor, more like fine cheese than anything else. Since moving here a few years ago I haven't had much tofu, since even the local Uwajimaya doesn't stock the really fresh stuff as far as I can tell.
Well that all changed this morning when I discovered Northwest Tofu, just east of Rainier on Jackson street in Seattle. It's right around the corner from the Seattle Japanese Language School where I take my daughter each Saturday morning. The make it fresh every day, throughout the day. You can buy it for the unbelievable price of 80 cents per one pound pack.
On colder days I sometimes boil it, but on a hot day like today, I just eat it cold right out of the bag. I served it to my 6-year-old, who loves it with a touch of soy sauce. If you like, sprinkle it with some chopped ginger, or Japanese seasonings like furikake or katsu-ou-boshi (available at Uwajimaya). Another option is to cut into slices and pan-fry with some butter (and garlic if you like). Finally, during the summer I often keep some around for grilling, right there with the hamburgers and hotdogs. Again, a touch of soy sauce and the kids love it.
One catch: thanks to the outrageous high price of soybeans lately (thanks again, you ignorant biofuels people), the owner has lately been finding it hard sometimes to get the ingredients. He told me he buys from Minnesota, but the price has doubled in the last year and occasionally his supplier can't get him anything.
It's part of a Chinese restaurant that apparently specializes in tofu and caters apparently mostly to Chinese--I was the only native English speaker inside when I visited. Here's the exact address:
1913 S Jackson St
Seattle, WA 98144
But if you just want tofu, drive your car all the way around the back and go through the (clearly-marked) door where you can buy it straight from the guy while he makes it. Mmmmmm!!