Tofu cafe reinvents old favorites - Tourism Indonesia


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tofu cafe reinvents old favorites

Tofu or soybean cake -- which is gaining popularity in Western culture -- has long been a menu mainstay in Bali.

Kafe Tahu, which is located on Jl. Raya Denpasar in Bedugul, Baturiti, Tabanan, offers a wide variety of tofu dishes. Its owners, Zakaria and Elizabeth, have created a menu that features a wide array of tofu concoctions.

Soft tofu dishes -- ranging from soups to puddings -- are priced at Rp 5,000 (55 US cents) a portion. Tahu petis (sweet tofu) tahu martabak (tofu pancake) and tahu rujak mie (tofu and noodle salad) make very tasty snacks that are a lot more interesting than peanuts or crisps. Their prices range from Rp 5,000-8,500 a portion.

If a customer wants a solid meal they can choose from tahu gimbal (fried tofu cake), bakso kuah (tofu balls in soup), tahu telur (tofu and egg pancake) or tahu gejrot (chunks of tofu in a spicy sauce).

Zakaria said he had not realized his business would grow so fast. He had only really started the cafe with the intention of teaching people to cook tofu. An old caravan was later converted into a shop, with six tables placed outside.

"We never imagined such a thing, but people raved about our cooking. My wife and I have no training as cooks," he said.

Zakaria and Elizabeth spend much of their time on the road in search of new tofu recipes. They have visited West Java for its tahu gejrot, Central Java for its tahu gimbal and East Java for its tahu campur (mixed tofu) and tahu telur.

Also influenced by the cuisines of Japan and China, they might try a recipe 10 times before considering it "mastered".

At present there are 45 items on the Kafe Tahu menu, with two or three additions every month. Zakaria and Elizabeth are also expanding their business to Negara, Kuta and Denpasar under a franchising scheme.

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