Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 6 months or do, you would’ve heard the buzz about the latest queue-inducing craze to hit town – chilled bean curd. Unlike regular soya bean curd, which can be eaten hot or cold and indeed probably tastes better hot, chilled bean curd, as the name suggests, is only eaten cold. The texture is a cross between regular bean curd, crème caramel, and longan tofu.
The pioneer stall is Lao Ban, which opened at Old Airport Road and has since opened several more outlets, including one at Maxwell Food Centre. Queues at lunchtime are legendary – we were there for lunch on Saturday, and when the shutters rolled up a queue of at least 15 formed instantly. In contrast, a few stalls down is one called Bean, also selling chilled bean curd but with no queue to speak of. Naturally we thought “hmmm, atetoomuch taste test!”.
They’re actually very different from each other, and both are also very different from regular soya bean curd. Lao Ban’s texture is the most different of the lot – it’s the least like any form of bean curd, and more like a smooth longan tofu/jelly. It also had the most prominent almond flavour, which may also have contributed to the longan tofu association.
Bean, on the other hand, is more like regular soya bean curd, just lighter and smoother. The soya bean flavour is also more prevalent, rather than almond.
Comparing these to the Rochor soya bean curd, which in my opinion is the best regular bean curd in town, I actually think Bean is better, because it still retains some element of the traditional. Lao Ban is a totally different dessert to me – a very good almond-flavoured longan tofu, but too far removed from the original.
Lao Ban is an interesting change, but overall, it’s not worth the queue and I’d rather go with Bean.