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In 164 BC, Liu An, the grandson of the Liu Bang the first emperor of the Western Han Dynasty, became the king of Huai Nan in Anhui Province. He had always been searching for a medicine of longevity. He spent a lot of money to hire many experts in Chinese medicine. On a trip to Northern Mountain, Liu An was accompanied by eight masters. They attempted to make an elixir by using the crystal clear water of the neighboring three springs and soy beans. The beans were milled with water thus became soy milk, Liu and the masters took the milk to irrigate the seedlings of the elixir. Their attempt to make a longevity drug has failed, but the soft, white-colored curd of the soy milk with the residue substance was full of aroma. The farmers there had taken some bean curd, they felt it delicious ! And so they named it "Dou Fu", which meant "Bean Curd". Hence the Northern Mountain was called the Eight Masters' Mountain and Liu An was known as the inventor of Tofu.

Tofu became a specialty in the Eight Masters' Mountain, housewives and young girls could make bean curd dishes. Since the implement of the Reform and Opening Policy thirty years ago, many restaurants that serve tofu dishes have been running business there, attracted tourists and gourmets at home and abroad.


Su Dongbo, an eminent writer flourished in the Northern Song Dynasty loved tofu very much and he made a dish of his own name in Hangzhou. The Dongbo Tofu is made of bean curd, putting inside it the paste contained wheat flour, eggs and salt, fried in medium heated cooking oil, and then to add bamboo shoot and fresh mushrooms.

Bean curd is actually a culture in China. Tofu specialties are very different from place to place, the most famous dish is the Ma Po Bean Curd from Sichuan Province, which combined the characteristics of tingling spicy, fresh fragrance and light tenderness. The tofu dishes in Chinese frontier are much colorful than the recipes in central and eastern China. "Bean Curd with Chicken Flavor" in Jilin Province is strong in taste with deep gorgeous yellow. Recipes in the ethnic minority regions maintain the local cooking styles.


A monk in the Tang Dynasty, Jian Zhen introduced the tofu making technique to Japan in 757 AD. Nowadays, bean curd recipes there are still having Chinese names instead of Japanese. Later times in history, Korea and many Southeast Asia nations obtained the skill of making tofu. As many Chinese immigrants came to the Western world in the last century, tofu mills are all around there.

Tofu is very beneficial to body's health if taken appropriate amount within a day. It's good to stomach, spleen and intestine, as well as to clear out some harmful substances in the body's cells.






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