Where Did Tofu Come From?

Tofu has a strong presence in our Seattle Korean restaurant. From our hot tofu soups, to our pan broiled tofu, to our lightly fried tofu salads, we’ve got a good many options for the tofu lover in you. But where did tofu come from? Who first created tofu, and why is it such an important part of the culinary tradition throughout Asia?

Unfortunately, nobody really knows for sure how tofu came to be. It is said that it was invented by Lord Liu An around 164 BC, but inventions that arose during this time were often falsely attributed to important political figures. Whatever its origins, it is clear that its production methods were standardized to those we know today by the second century, BC.

It’s likely that tofu spread from China along with Buddhism. The vegetarian principles thereof made it necessary to introduce alternative sources for protein. Tofu was therefore able to win a strong foothold in Korea, where it has been a significant part of the cooking culture to this day.