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Liuzhou Laowai

Sadly, they are getting rid of street food all over China in search of this idiotic "wenming city" nonsense.



What's the difference between doufu nao 豆腐脑 and dou hua 豆花? There are traditionally 9 types of doufu - doufu nao is one, but not dou hua. Perhaps it's a northern/southern term thing? It's the peasant type of all anyway. Doufu was described as '(thick)yogurt'(specifically sheep milk) in the Chinese literature BC.In fact if I didn't know it was about soy beans, it could have been about making cheese - with mentioning of/comparing to sheep, its meat, fat and milk.

I don't get what 'dou hua liang mian' is - you mean liang mian topped with dou hua? Or do you mean served separately? That's new to me. Do you get dou hua fan (rice), dou hua suijiao too?


It could be that the firmer sort of dou hua in the above is technically the doufu nao. Something about the yellowish water in the bucket made me think so. Of course, the two terms may now be used liberally anyway. Though traditionally could may well be made from different processes. It does look like brain, doesn’t it.


LL - thanks for the link, I linked the post in the opening graph. The use of wenming is so curious ... it was gaining traction when we lived in Shanghai in the mid-90s and it's amazing how it still carries weight. I've heard 'buwenming' used for everything from spitting to migrant workers sleeping outside the train station.
Although I have to admit I've employed it a few times myself when faced with particularly objectionable behavior. It's a very effect insult.
(Also -- lohsee fun describes a type of noodle, 'rat's tail noodle' in Malaysia. I had no idea it was a dish in your neck of the woods.)

Katy-I don't know if the term douhua is used outside of Sichuan. But it's always been around, or at least has since the 80s. (I think the water is yellow-ish because it's the end of the day. ;-) I wouldn't describe the dofu as fermented, just slightly sour. Well, I suppose that connotes some degree of fermentation but not enough to call it fermented.)
Douhua liangman douhua -- she's advertising two separate dishes. Never saw douhua fan or douhua suijiao but there is a douhua ji (chicken) -- haven't tried it.


what a combination !


That's one spicy bowl of douhua!!

If Malaysian hawkers pick this up, we might see some ma la douhua here. Strange as it may sound...may be a sambal douhua in George Town? I think we'll stick to the usual palm sugar one:)

Nga Seg Son


In Malaysia Dou Hu Hua (豆腐花) invariably comes with syrupy sugar and never eaten savoury !

Names vary depending on which part of Malaysia one comes from. Johor where I hail from has a preponderance of Fujians and we called it Bean Milk Water (豆奶水).

In Kuala Lumpur where my family now reside it is called Dou Jiang Shui (豆浆水)
When I was in Changchun (东北) in the 90s, the locals called it Dou Nao (豆脑).

The first time I came across Dou Nao was at a hotel with buffet breakfast. I was looking around for the syrupy sugar to go with it. Couldn't find it anywhere and was informed that the brown gooey savoury soup was used to garnish the Dou Nao.

My Malaysian DNA was geared to having Dou Fu Hua (豆腐花) with syrupy sugar and never with savoury garnish. It took quite a while for me to get use to having it savoury.

Here in Southern Vietnam where I am currently based; the Vietnamese itinerant hawkers will carry around two pots on a pole and retail the same 豆腐花 (Che Dau Hu in Vietnamese ) with palm sugar flavoured with ginger rhizome and some Pandan Leaves.

On another note, I am used to the Ma Po To Fu (麻婆豆腐) in Malaysia and the first time I chanced upon a real McCoy in a Sichuan restaurnt in China; I could not recognise it, what with the numbing Hua Jiao (花椒)and what I thought someone poured half a bottle of black pepper powder(黑胡椒粉) on it. It was a tongue numbing hot experience for me !!

A native of Sichuan will not be able to recognise the Ma Po To Fu as served in Malaysia. That is another story !


Seg Son
05 Oct 2010


The second type reminds me of fermented beancurd paste ("foo yee"), the ones preserved in a jar with spicy paste.

Ipoh in Malaysia has a drive through "Tau foo fah" stall that serves this famous sweet snack, opens only in the afternoons-early evenings, and so very smooth you can't even bite on the texture.

No savoury option like in Chengdu though, but a delightfully warm, sweet and smooth snack that you can't help but order seconds.

Since a bowl cost less than USD0.30!


Robyn, I am not so sure the name lohsee fun (rat's tail noodle) ‘originated’ from Luosi fen (snail soup noodle) – Rat (lao shu老鼠) in Hokkien is pronounced something like ‘liochee’’. And we do have rat noodle (老鼠/猫鼠面 –they sound the same in Hokkien) in Taiwan – originated from Changhua. It all began in a store during the Japanese era –the owner was born in the year of rat and he was agile like rat and was nicknamed Ratzie鼠仔. I’ve never had one myself, but from the link of this original store, it is a type of long slim noodle look like rat’s tail. Hope you can open it, is it the same sort you have in Malay?

I don’t think it is wrong to say, traditionally, Northern term for custardy doufu is dou(fu) nao and Southern douhua and one is served savory and the other sweet – it coincides with the two types of doufu at least before the Qin dynasty --Northern doufu (北豆腐) which traditionally used sodium chloride and was firmer and yellower and Southern (南豆腐)used calcium sulfate and was generally whiter and softer, each made from different process. Doufu nao is known to be sold in buckets because water (yellowish) precipitated over the course of time.

Douhua fan (rice) is apparently very common and popular in Chengdu (colleague from Chengdu told me). And you should find them in many stores (mainly served at breakfast). It comes with a bowl of rice, a plate of doufu and a dish of hot spicy sauce. They dip doufu in the sauce and eat it with rice. Doufu Ji, I assume is a name of a dish.

LL- I don’t care much what many dictionaries you have say about the use of wenming and wenhua -- for me, in their original form, they are different, despite the context. 文 (a form of education) 明 (of sun and moon, cosmos, law, rules, clarity) is not the same as 文 (a form of education)化 (of left part ‘person’, right part ‘make changes’; together means derivations by people). I’ve heard of wenming city, but didn’t know how it is used. From my reading here, if I understand it correctly, it is a term created and aimed for an idealistic (or idiotic in your word) ‘orderly’ city (the Shanghairi-la?) in China’s fast moving city redevelopments. If you must translate it as civilized or cultured , civilized is closer. Perhaps wenming is like guanxi – a Chinese terminology of its own!


I would personally avoid douhua that is shining white and so smooth that you slurp instead of 'bite' - it's probably bleached and powdered. The frozen douhua packages you see in Oriental supermarkets 'abroad' are more likely to contain agar (gelatin).

Rachel@Tasty Thailand

Oh I love bean curd, and that looks delicious. For some, I think, the consistency takes some getting used to, but I loved it the first time I tried it. Haven't had it in China yet though, but hopefully will be able to do that early next year :)

And, as always, simply love your photos, particularly the one of the four Chinese wearing the colorful jackets and clothing. Gorgeous!


It would be sad if the street foods disappeared in favor of a cold regulated modernity. It is the essence of a culture and one of the things that makes traveling so fascinating. Perhaps for the local municipality it is common food but for me it is what I most remember, the flavor, aroma, texture...not another guided tour or museum.

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