Object of Desire: Tofu spring rolls
It has come to my attention that vegans are angry with me today, what with all the foie gras and all. So as a peace offering, I thought I might point out that Golden Deli, the Vietnamese noodle shop whose crackly cha gio, fried spring rolls, have been fetish objects in the San Gabriel Valley for more than 30 years, has recently been trying to establish a beachhead on the fried tofu front: custardy, crunchy fried tofu served on noodles, with rice or alone on a plate with only a lonely sprig of cilantro to keep it company.
More to the point, there is a fried-tofu version of the fresh spring roll goi cuon -- bean curd patties wrapped tightly in sticky rice paper with lettuce, cellophane noodles and shreds of marinated carrot; and served with a dark soy-based dip instead of the customary nuoc leo, which is more or less ground peanuts laced with fish sauce. The tofu rolls are something you can enjoy while your friends are making fools of themselves with the grilled shrimp cakes and pork rib-snail soup. Can we be friends again?
815 W. Las Tunas Ave., San Gabriel, (626) 308-0803.
-- Jonathan Gold
Photo credit: Jonathan Gold