Don't Worry! Tofu Trump is Not a Food Trend—Just a Thing That Happened on My Plate.
Egg Tofu with Vegetables
Some people see Jesus in strange places. Mostly, these people see him as the Shroud of Turin format imprinted on a bunch of bizarre things, typically edible, from toast to chips to a pizza slice or even the inside of an orange. Who knows, maybe they are actually witnessing a miraculous Jesus image, or perhaps it's more of a Rorschachy thing that's going on. Anyhow, seeing Jesus in stuff nowadays is pretty passé. On the other hand, seeing Donald Trump is more on trend, as I did the other day, and it was weird.
I don't follow Jesus or Trump, but I respect Jesus. He's a guy I'd gladly have a glass of wine with (of course, he'd have to make it first) and discuss all kinds of deep life stuff. As for Trump, not really.
Back to seeing Trump in food. My girl and I were craving some late night bites so we headed over to Jasmine House in Alhambra. The restaurant is run by chef Lupe Liang. The same chef/owner who opened Hop Woo in Chinatown. (That's where my girl and I had the notorious multi-course boa constrictor dinner that was turned into an epic video by VICE TV.) Recently opened, Jasmine House is Liang's new restaurant and specializes in Hong Kong cuisine. Liang began his chef's life in H.K. and brought his talents to this side of the Pacific via Mexico and finally L.A.
One of our favorite dishes at Jasmine House is the Egg Tofu. It's not a tofu dish you can find at many Chinese restaurants, and there are no actual eggs in the item, so it's completely veg. Egg Tofu's magic dwells in its two textures: a custard-like tofu sealed within a sort of a crunchy-leathery exterior. Once the toasty tofu sheath is pierced, there's a burst of steamy, silken soybean curd that surges into your mouth—it's a textural thrill. A light sauce flavors the dish as does clusters of enokitake and a few snow peas. This is about when Trump showed up.
The blond enokitake (these are the ones cultivated sans sunlight) were placed around and on top of the egg tofu. As the ingredients sat on the plate, this freaky Trump visage slowly revealed itself until it couldn't be denied (like nightmarish election results). I thought I might've been seeing things given how Trump news is all pervasive, so I asked the opinion of my girl, the waiter, and even chef Liang himself. Everyone agreed, something Trumpy was on my plate—the tiny stringy white shrooms made up his combover, the orange-tinted, pock-marked tofu shell resembled his persistent smirking mug. We all laughed, although my girlfriend was more disturbed than amused, so it was a nervous laughter out of her.
Tofu Trump, though, looked pissed that he was on a plate in a Chinese restaurant with all of us pointing and giggling at him. Not funny, Tofu Trump seemed to sneer. I'd fire you all if I could.
Tofu Trump is not amused
(photo: Eddie Lin. art: Stephanie Kordan)