A Brief History of Tofu

Tofu has an important presence in our Lynnwood Japanese restaurant. But have you ever stopped to wonder about the origin of tofu, or how it became such a significant part of Asian cuisine?

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know for sure when or how tofu first came about. It is said that it was the brainchild of a Chinese prince named Liu An around 164 BC. However, it was a common practice at this time to credit the significant inventions of others to important political figures. Whatever its origins, it is clear that the tofu production methods we know today were standardized as early as the second century, BC.

It’s likely that tofu spread from China along with Buddhist philosophy. The vegetarian principles of Buddhism made it necessary to provide followers with a meat-free source of protein. Tofu was therefore able to gain a strong foothold in Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries, where it has been a huge part of their culinary traditions to this day.