The Produce Index: Tofu Shoten

Published on 5 May 2021

Photo: Tofu Shoten (credit: Annika Kafcaloudis)

Tofu made in Melbourne's inner-north using traditional Japanese techniques.

Fresh tofu handmade in small batches in Brunswick. Sava Goto makes various types of Japanese-style tofu such as momen (semi-firm), atsuage (deep-fried) and kinu (silken). Along with fresh tofu, she produces other soy products including soy milk, smoked tofu, kinako (toasted soybean flour) and ganmodoki (tofu fritters), as well as condiments and sauces designed to be served alongside the tofu.

Goto is currently in the process of making miso from okara – the pulp leftover from making soy milk – which she feels is an untapped resource. “Okara is often composted or used for animal feed, but sometimes this feels wasteful, and can be used in many different preparations,” Goto says. She also wants to highlight that tofu is not just a meat replacement but “is also delicious with meat in dishes”. Goto suggests using her semi-firm tofu in your next batch of mapo tofu. 

Just off Sydney Road on Hope Street, Brunswick, operating out of a small kiosk inside Kines cafe. 

Goto grew up in Fukusaki-chō, Japan and moved to Australia in 2015. After working in cafe and restaurant kitchens in Melbourne, she began experimenting with making tofu herself, as she couldn't find the Japanese-style tofu that she missed from home. In the middle of 2020, she left her full-time job and started Tofu Shoten. 

Why it’s different
Before opening Tofu Shoten, Goto spent two weeks with a tofu expert in Osaka and then spent nearly a year testing her own recipes. As a one-woman operation, each batch takes up to five hours to make. The result is a silky tofu with a delicate flavour, best eaten within two to three days. Tofu Shoten's range of Japanese-style tofu, and other soy-based products, can be enjoyed on their own, added to soups and hotpots, marinated, or made into dessert.

In-store at 11 Hope Street, Brunswick. Tofu Shoten is open Thursday and Friday noon-4pm and Saturday 9am-4pm. 

By Claire Adey

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