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Buffalo Tofu with Crab (Photo courtesy: Travis Mitchell)

Behind The Dish: Dig into Tiger Fork’s Buffalo Tofu with Crab

Tiger Fork is known for bringing modern takes to Hong Kong-inspired cooking. Its newest dish is an intriguing composition of crispy tofu, preserved crab and a Chinese-style “Buffalo sauce.” The individual ingredients aren’t uncommon, but together they make for a unique bite – one that may win over even the most tofu averse diners.

The new snack is part of the restaurant’s “Dai Pai Dong” offerings, named after the open air food stalls that line the streets of Hong Kong. The inspiration came from playing around with flavors of crispy tofu and chili crab, two popular dishes in China.

“It was something we were playing around with for a few weeks,” says Ben Sawyer, Tiger Fork’s executive sous chef. “We knew we wanted to do fried tofu, but then after that it just slowly developed.”

Central to that experimentation was the Chinese-style Buffalo sauce, which is sure to hook fans with it's rich and peppery spices. Tiger Fork makes the sauce using a pickling liquid mixed with chili garlic paste (similar to a sambal), and butter. It has a nice medium-hot kick that builds with each bite.

The recipe hooked the restaurant’s front of house staff, says General Manager Glenn Hanbury. They knew they had to get the addicting concoction on a dish. Sticks of fried tofu, brined overnight for maximum crispiness, turned out to be an ideal vessel.

Tiger Fork’s addictive tofu is topped with preserved crab, which adds sweetness and meatiness and works surprisingly well with the Buffalo sauce. It also gets garnished with a soy chip and preserved bean sprouts, both which round out the dish with a light crunch.

As far as the reception so far, Hanbury says diners have been open to trying it, even if some of them need some persuading. He’s managed to win over guests who swear that all tofu is bland and boring. A crabless variation of dish is available during dim sum brunch, as well as during dinner on request. Whichever preparation you go with, it’s a combination of flavors and ingredients that shouldn’t get overlooked.