When this Tua Huay Uncle was 13 years old. He met the Ti Gu. In fact, he met the Ti Gu many times. Being a scrawny 13 year old, they would ask him if he really was the hawker pushing the cart. At the time, he was helping his parents earn a living. He recalls that each fine was $10 and he had a whole stack of it. A bowl of Tau Huay was 10 cents then, so $10 meant he had to sell 100 bowls of Tau Huay plus a bit more to pay off the fine. After paying the fine, pleading guilty and promising to get off the streets, he would relocate the pushcart to somewhere else. How else where they going to find money to feed the family?
I admire this Uncle for his tenacity for holding on to tradition. His bean curd is still made with “Shi Gao” (Gypsum) rather than Lactone which is what is used in many places, especially the franchised stalls in Shopping Centres. Unlike Shi Gao, Lactone is very forgiving and gives consistent results. Making Tau Huay using Shi Gao on the other hand, is an artform that still requires the skills of an experienced Tau Huay maker. After making Tau Huay for more than 40 years, this Uncle still has days when the Tau Huay doesn’t set properly. However, when it does, Traditional, or should I say, artisanal Tau Huay that is made with Shi Gao is softer and silkier than the modern lactone variety.
His Tau Huay today is perfect. The last time I ate there, it was slightly off, but today it has the most perfect texture. Unlike the Lactone version that often chisels like jelly, the Tau Huay here disintegrates in your mouth with the slightest pressure. This is the best Tau Huay I have had for a while.4.6/5
If you want taste what Tau Huay used to taste like before they started using lactone to make Tau Huay, then you have to seek out the stalls that still persist in using Shi Gao. Tau Huay that is procured from factories are all made with lactone and they are never as smooth and silky as the ones made on the premises. If you spot a machine for making soy milk at the stall, then it is a good chance that you are going to find Traditional Tau Huay.
If you want to try making your own Tau Huay, do have a read of my Tau Huay recipepost. Learning to make my own Tau Huay has made me really respect those hawkers who persist in making Tau Huay the traditional way.
William just wrote in to say that their name is now Whampoa Soya Bean and Grass Jelly!
Whampoa Soya Bean and Grass Jelly