Lovers’ Tofu Fruit – a popular snack in Guiyang

lovers' tofu fruit

Lovers’ Tofu Fruit (恋爱豆腐果), or simply Tofu Fruit, is a distinctive delicacy from Guiyang City, Guizhou Province, belonging to Guizhou cuisine. It is is slightly yellow, spicy and tender, appetizing, and refreshing. The method of preparation involves soaking and fermenting in alkaline water, followed by cutting into rectangular pieces. It is then grilled using odorless cedar sawdust as fuel until both sides turn yellow. When served, the tofu is sliced open with thin bamboo strips, and a seasoning made of chili peppers, minced ginger, scallions, garlic paste, soy sauce, vinegar, and monosodium glutamate is added. It is best enjoyed while hot, offering a savory, spicy, and smooth taste that tantalizes the palate.

The endearing nickname “Lovers’ Tofu Fruit” is tied to a romantic story from the time of the Anti-Japanese War in the late 1930s. As Japanese aggression swept across various regions of China, including Guizhou, the city of Guiyang became a target for enemy bombings. In response, residents sought refuge in areas like Dongshan and Pengjiaqiao on the outskirts of the city.

In this setting, a couple named Zhang Huafeng and his wife provided shelter by constructing several thatched huts in a vegetable garden. Originally used as a place to make grilled tofu fruit, these huts quickly became shelters during air raids, bustling with people seeking safety. Observing the hunger of those taking refuge, Zhang Huafeng and his wife converted their workshop into a shop, selling grilled tofu fruit to alleviate hunger. This simple, fast, and affordable snack soon gained popularity.

While most people ate tofu fruit to satisfy hunger, some young couples lingered, savoring the spicy snack as they conversed for hours. Over time, the shop became a romantic spot where couples would gather, forgetting the threats from above and enjoying each other’s company. As word spread, people began affectionately referring to the snack as “Lovers’ Tofu Fruit.”

This romantic notion quickly caught on among the youth of Guiyang, attracting many to taste the snack. Even after the war, the tradition continued, and Tofu Fruit remained a beloved local delicacy in Guiyang. It not only captured the hearts of locals but also garnered attention from visitors from other regions.

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