Food Finds - The Soy ShopSaturday April 17, 2010 10:00 am EDT
Tai and Khich Lam started making tofu in their basement in 1983. In 1985, they took over the Soy Shop company started in 1979 by Sara and Steve Yurman, and expanded into a full-scale tofu-making operation based out of Decatur.
The Khich family focuses their production on only two types of tofu: soft and firm. The Soy Shop is very strict about the quality of soybeans used in its tofu, and sources its nongenetically modified soybeans from a select group of Midwest farmers. Although they were organically certified last year, the organic version is still only available for institutional use. The soybeans are ground with water, cooked with steam and then separated into solids and milk. The soymilk is then combined with calcium sulfate to make it firm.
The tofu has a nice clean flavor and tastes incredibly fresh. That's because the tofu you buy on a Saturday was made just a couple of days before, and the stock at stores is replenished twice a week. Aside from all the warm fuzzy feelings one gets from buying local, the price is right. The shorter time from production to table cuts out many distribution costs. The tofu retails for about 99 cents to $1.09, depending on the store.
The company moved to a new 40,000-square-foot operation near spaghetti junction and hopes to have organic and silken retail versions out soon. There's no website or storefront, but you can find the Soy Shop's tofu at retailers such as Hong Kong Supermarket, Your DeKalb Farmers Market, Sevananda Natural Foods Market and other local retailers. Call 770-458-7808 for more information.