Get a Bargain on Different Kinds of Fresh Tofu Straight From Aloha Tofu’s Factory
Customers line up for mousse, soy milk and fresh, hot blocks of tofu.
Photos: Odeelo Dayondon
Sunday morning at the Aloha Tofu factory, everyone in line is holding a pot. I join the small queue snaking out the door, proudly clutching mine: a saucepan that can easily hold the equivalent of two blocks. We’re like a secret society, it seems, devotees of piping hot, freshly made, non-GMO tofu, converging on this third-generation family business on Akepo Lane.
It’s my turn. The factory floor is warm, the thrum of machinery constant. “Not big enough.” The woman in the hairnet stops filling orders and clucks sympathetically.
What? Now I notice that everyone’s pot dwarfs mine. I see stock pots, casseroles, extra-large thermoses. They all have two handles or can be carried like a bucket. These people are equipped. My saucepan looks like a joke.
“We sell by set amounts,” the woman says patiently, pointing at a price list I haven’t noticed. Soft scoop yudofu, fried tofu, aburaage, okara, fresh, hot soy milk, even natto. And Aloha’s tofu mousse creations in nearly a dozen flavors: pumpkin, cheesecake, coffee caramel, really?
I want my soft scoop tofu. “Can you just put in what fits and I’ll pay full price?”
The woman clucks again and darts off. She returns moments later with a bag holding my equivalent of two blocks and seals it in my saucepan with a smile. Plus she gives me a discount, so nice.
The tofu is so fresh and silky, it’s practically melting. At home, bits escape when I pour it out of the bag and into the pot. I scoop them out of the sink and slurp. They slip across my tongue like custard, warm and nostalgic. And so, so good.
Tips for newbies
1. Go early. The factory is open daily; fresh tofu and soy milk come out in the mornings and they sometimes run out.
2. If you want soy milk, don’t bother bringing your own bottle or thermos. Aloha sells it in its own jugs. And no soy milk on Wednesday or Saturday.
3. Call ahead if you know your order. They’ll have it ready for pickup.
4. Do not leave without a few cups of tofu mousse. You’ll also find these at Aloha Tofu Town at Dole Cannery. The coffee caramel is amazing.
Aloha Tofu, 961 Akepo Lane (makai side of King Street near intersection with Liliha), prices range from 50 cents for a square of aburaage, to $2.20 for a regular block of tofu, to $7.70 for a hefty scoop of silken yudofu, open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Wednesday and Saturday until 11 a.m.), 845-2669