January 19, 2010

Luo Shan Organic Village, Handmade Mud Volcano Tofu


These are the famous Luo Shan village handmade organic tofu. They are made with a 40-year old traditional method. They are made with nature mud volcano water instead of the broth. Although it looks somewhat rough, it has a solid texture with a good smell. It is quite delicious. Since they are handmade, they cannot be mass produced. They are not added with any preservatives, so they can’t stay fresh for a longer time. Please do come to taste it yourself!


Luo Shan village, located in Fuli Township, Hualien County, is the first organic farming village in Taiwan. Since farming has transformed using fertilizers to organic farming without adding any pesticide, the cost has increased, and can only produce one half as much as before. To build an “Organic Village” sounded like a dream. Not only a unique geographical condition was required, but also the organic concept needed to be accepted by all villagers in order to build the non-toxic farm together. However, this impossible mission was achieved. Luo Shan villagers convinced themselves, and also motivated others.


If asking anyone in the Luo Shan village, he/she would answer your questions with no hesitation, and their hospitality would touch your heart. A smile is not just shown on the face, but connects people’s distance. You can ride a bike in the early morning or late afternoon. Don’t worry if you get lost. Any villager would assist you with the direction. You may also gain a surprise.


There is an about 800 square meter irrigation reservoir in the village. Now villagers are fish farming in there and it was named “Luo Shan Big Fish Pond”. Following the trail, you can come to a pavilion located at the center of the reservoir. You can rest and enjoy the scenery there.


The pool is filled with wild water chestnut. Now is the ripening season. Luckily we met a villager who was picking up the water chestnut. The ripen water chestnuts are heavy which could sink to the bottom of the pond. Therefore, it needs to be careful and gentle to turn the leaves to avoid sinking the water chestnut. He sat on a rubber float and looked for the ripen water chestnuts. He chatted with us, as well as taught us some knowledge of the water chestnut. If there were more than one rubber float, I would have gone in there to help!


Following the trail by the “Big Fish Pond” would lead to the most famous mud volcano in Luo Shan. The nature gas or volcano gas mixed with underground water and mud sediment that came out from the gaps of the plate surface to form the special terrain of mud volcano. In fact, the openings of the mud volcano are very small. The small mud bubbles contain gas. However, the gas is not strong enough. The villagers cannot rely on this mud volcano’s gas. They still need to buy gas for daily use.


By talking to the villagers, I could feel that they are so proud of their organic farm, and they are emotionally attached to the land they are living. They would take their initiative to introduce their worthy-to-visit attractions to the visitors and share what they know. Please don’t be shy. Take your initiative to say hello to them and ask for assistance. You may gain an extra experience.


Some of the villagers renovated their homes to provide the tourists accommodations. The houses are not large. The facilities are not luxurious, but they are clean and comfortable. The most important thing is to have the tourists involved in the traditional farm living to enjoy the farm experience. While I was in the village, I stayed with Mr. Lin who owns the “Nature Experience Farm”. It is the most remote with the highest altitude home stay house. The environment is very quiet and comfortable.

「大自然體驗農家」有提供泥火山豆腐製作體驗,想當然爾,我不會錯過這樣的大好機會。 做豆腐的主要材料當然就是黃豆,不過,這黃豆可是林伯伯自己栽種的無基因改造的有機豆。用天然泉水(羅山村的村民平日使用的皆是天然泉水)浸泡數小時之後,就可以開始進行下一階段了。

The “Nature Experience Farm” provides the opportunity in making mud volcano tofu; of course, I would not miss this great opportunity. The main ingredient of the Tofu is soy beans. The soybeans are organic and were planted by Mr. Lin himself. They were soaked in the natural spring water for several hours, and then the next step would start. (The villagers in Luo Shan village are using natural spring water daily)

將黃豆與適量的水漸次倒入石磨中研磨。推磨的技巧是左推右拉,講的很輕鬆,但做起來可是相當吃力。我對石磨並不陌生,但還是頭一次親眼見到「工作中」的石磨。把黃豆放入小小的洞口,轉個兒圈就可以把黃豆完全的磨成汁,讓我這個城市鄉巴佬看得直呼神奇。 不過,如果要用石磨把所有的黃豆都研磨好,實在太花時間與氣力了。林伯伯說石磨是給遊客體驗的,而現在都是用機器磨豆啦!

The soybeans and right amount of water are to be put in the stone mill and grind. The tips of the grind are “left push and right pull”. It sounds easy; but is pretty hard in doing it. I am a bit familiar with the stone mill, but this is the first time to witness“the work in progress” stone mill. Put the soybeans into the small hole. After a several grindings, they become juice. I was amazed! Mr. Lin said that it would take too long to grind all soybeans from the stone mills. This was just showing to the tourists. They are all ground by the machine now.


After they were ground, all juices were boiled in a large pot. A small amount of water needed to be boiled in the large pot first, so when we the soy juices were poured in the pot, the soy juices would not stick on the pot and get burned.


During the boiling process, the bean juice needed to be stirred up all the time to prevent burning. There are soybean dregs in the soy juices, so if the dregs got burned, the whole juice would have burning smell.


After the soy juice is boiled, the dregs would be filtered out. Here comes the thick and tasty soy milk.


PS: the leftover organic dregs can be used to bake cookies, or to be the organic fertilizers for the pigs, chickens, ducks and fishes.


Next, I tasted a large bowl of the soy milk. We were attracted by the smell of the soy milk and could not wait to taste one!


PS: Most of the shops in making soy milk, they would filter the dregs first before boiling. The advantage of it was to reduce the boiling time, and there would be no dregs to be stick on the pot. However, if the soy milk is made in this way; it will not have the fragrance of the soy bean smell.

接下來我們要進行第二階段的熬煮了。 製成豆腐的關鍵,就是這一桶水了。這是取自羅山泥火山的水,靜置一夜後,泥漿完全沈澱,而浮在上頭的鹹水就是我們製作豆腐要用的滷水。

The second phase of the boiling starts. The key to make a quality Tofu is the water. The water they used was from the mud volcano. After a bucket of water sat for one night, the mud was completely precipitated; the floating salt water was the water to make Tofu.


Heat the soy milk and add the right amount of broth water. When and how much of broth needed to be added were all decided by Mr. Lin’s based on his experience. We just watched and won’t be able to know the answer. The magic broth water was added, soy milk started to become Tofu Pudding.


The Tofu Pudding would be filtered in the gauze. Two persons held each side of the gauze, swam slowly from right to left, and filtered slowly. After filtering, put the Tofu Pudding into the square Tofu mold.


Cover with the mold template, and press them very hard to squeeze out extra water.


While pressing them, Mrs. Wen helped to wipe the extra water to prevent it from going back in.


After water was squeezed out, Tofu needed to sit for a few minutes. Then, the solid tofu is formed. Our mouths were watery when we saw Mr. Lin sliced the Tofu.


We could not wait to have a piece in our bowls. The sauce to go with it was either the soy sauce or homemade wasabi sauce made by Mrs. Lin.


Although Luo Shan village is on the remote east coast, you won’t be disappointed once you get there. Besides tasting the mud volcano Tofu and making your own handmade Tofu, you can also taste the organic rice and feel the hospitality of the villagers!

[大自然體驗農家] “ Nature Experience Farm”

電話 (TEL):03-8821-352

住址 (Address):983花蓮縣富里鄉羅山村12鄰58號 / 983 Hualien County, FuLi Township, Lou Shan Village 12, #58

網址 (Website):http://tw.myblog.yahoo.com/naturenaturelife-plnyms56hinetnet/ Read More


Anonymous said...

Really interesting!
I love tofu a lot!
We have this Hakka dish, Yong Tafu (釀豆腐) in Malaysia.
Yum yum.

As for soya milk, we prefer the sweet one.
Savoury soya milk is less popular in Malaysia.
Don't know why?!

dennis said...

totally awesome! physically getting involved in the process then finally tasting the purest quality is the best experience.

kristen and micki said...

To londoncalling- Is "Yong Tofu" the same as "豆腐乳"?
In Taiwan, most of the time, we drink sweet soy milk too, but the pure and thick soy milk without adding any sugar tastes very good too!

kristen and micki said...

To Dennis- I like to involve in the process of making any products which help me to learn and become more value the result. Thanks! :)

Anonymous said...

No, not quite the same. If you like, copy and paste the link below to find it out. I think you must have something similar to Yong Tofu in Taiwan too.


Re: Global Cities / 全球城市 / Bandar Raya Global / 世界都市

Yes, you're right. They're all made from wood. ;-)

Zhu said...

So interesting, and I'm glad you included a few great pictures to really show the process of making tofu.

I'm a huge tofu fan and now I'm curious about this one... it certainly look very good!

kristen and micki said...

To londoncalling- Yummy! I had this dish in "Dim Sum" place. Yes, 蝦膠蒸釀豆腐 is very tasty!

kristen and micki said...

To Zhu- Thanks! I am a huge Tofu fan too. I like all kinds of Tofu products and all kinds of cooking methods of Tofu :)

Alexander said...

This is an interesting dish. Great colours. Thanks for explaining in detail the process of making tofu. it is very interesting to me too!

Alex's World! - http://www.kakinan.com/alex

kristen and micki said...

Thanks! Alexander
Making Tofu is a unique experience. So glad you enjoyed the reading!

sueann said...

hi there! i'm going to Luo Village in May..i'm wondering if i don't stay there (just going to drive there for a day trip)..will they still let me try the tofu and maybe even make the tofu like what you did?



kristen and micki said...

@Sueann-You can still participate the Tofu activity even you are not going to stay overnight there. However, you need to call for reservation for this activity so that they will soak the soy beans for hours before you arrive. You may not be able to make tofu without making reservation though.. Have a great time there! :)

fufu said...

泥火山豆腐?? i want!!!!! i love tofu or generally i love beans :) i used to have 豆腐花+豆漿 everyday when i was in taiwan =p

kristen and micki said...

@Fufu- Taiwan's 豆腐花 is so good, so smooth and tasty! Eating tofu is very healthy, good for you!

sueann said...

thnks so much!! i will call them in advance then. :>

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