I am still undecided whether I like tofu or not. The texture bothers me when I eat it so when it's fried like this, the external crunchy part takes away that dread of eating something that I am not so crazy about. Being a part of Asian cuisine, it's a familiar ingredient to me. There are actually two ways I can eat it. One, with this dish and another, a peculiar sweet, warm breakfast called taho, eaten in the Philippines that is composed of a softer kind of tofu (the silk kind), vanilla syrup and sago pearls.
Tofu originated some 2,000 years ago in China and spread throughout Southeast Asia after that. It's an important replacement to meat to vegetarians because of its richness in protein. It's low in fat and calories and can sometimes have a high count of iron, depending on how it was processed. In other words, it's healthy and good for us but the only thing is, we have to like it.
What I have here is a very typical Philippine appetizer dish. In the Philippines, appetizer connotes more how the Spanish tapas are, not the dish served as a part of a meal. To explain a bit more, it is a common practice to go out to bars (or pubs) to have after-dinner drinks with friends in the Philippines and while drinking, there are dishes called "appetizers" to accompany the beer, wine or liquors. One of those appetizer dishes that is normally ordered is this one, tokwa't baboy, as it is called locally.
It is fried tofu cubes with boiled pork. Originally, the parts used were taken from the face but since it already evolved to something more likeable, pork belly is widely used. So if ever you go to the Philippines, ask first what part of the pork they are using. I am quite squeamish so I always ask first and in this dish, I used pork belly. The original way to cook the pork is to boil it for about half an hour, until it becomes tender. I do this when I have the time but when I am in a rush, I do my shortcut method which is to fry the pork too. The purists will make a no-no to that because the pork should absorb the sauce but just the same, I love both ways.
You can access my recipe at She Knows where you can find me sometimes creating recipes. Click on this link to go there. If you are interested in the other recipes and travel articles I have there, click on my profile page. Thank you and I hope you enjoy this traditional Philippine delicacy!