Malay street food :tau fu fah & how I conquered the funny mountain (sweet soy pudding)


Puddings aren’t really my thing. Although, the older I get the more inclined I am towards dessert – which is alarming my waistline.

I do however like soy products (except tempeh – you can keep that, Indonesia) the more time we spend in Asia eating, the more I appreciate the merits of tofu as a textural component. Europeans will often turn their nose up at tofu; vegetarians struggle to use it well. I think, quite simply tofu in Europe is mass produced and a bit rubbish, which is a shame.

Tau fu fah is a type of treated soy milk using gypsum as a coagulant to thicken and bind it. The result is a fairly solid, jelly like tofu which is easy to break apart

Tau fu fah, as it is known in Ipoh and perhaps other areas of Malaysia, is known in China as dofuhua or dohua. Tau fu fah is the Cantonese name for the pudding. Penang follows the Hokkein name for the same dish is ‘tau hua’ whereas apparently, Singaporeans refer to it as tau hauy.

Confused? It’s all just soft set tofu.

Funny Mountain tau fu fah is pretty iconic in Ipoh – the shop has been around a long while, it’s popularity is well known so I figured, here is as good a place as any to get stuck into one of the most Asian of puddings.

It is served pretty much as it comes, with a sweet, syrupy liquid to give it additional flavour. Personally, I quite enjoyed the slightly nutty pudding, texturally similar to a crème caramel but without the richness. However, I felt the syrup was too sweet – I would have happily scoffed my way through two, or three tubs if it weren’t for the sugar syrup, which had me running for the dentist before I had even finished! Malays I’ve noticed are fond of the sweeter things in life, condensed milk tea, kuih, and cendol or ABC to name a few.

The dessert is worth checking out for the sweet lovers and generally curious and, at only around one ringgit it’s a steal.


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