What is Yokatan Tofu?
Yokatan Tofu is made by the members of “Nijiiro no Ki,” a B-type workshop for employment support operated by the NPO Jagaimo no Ouchi.
“Yokatan” is the dialect of this island and settlement. It is a word used in a casual context, meaning “it’s okay” or “no problem” when something happens. Even when something happens, if you eat Yokatan Tofu, it will be Yokatan.
How Yokatan Tofu is Made
Yokatan Tofu is made with 100% Kyushu soybeans, using the traditional method of kiln roasting. Apparently, soybeans are difficult to cultivate on Yakushima Island due to the climate, and they are currently trying to grow them. They soak the soybeans overnight, crush them, and then roast them in a kiln. Rice bran is used as a defoamer to prevent the tofu from foaming, and nigari is used as a coagulant to solidify the tofu. Those are the only ingredients used, all of which are very good for the body.
How to Eat Yokatan Tofu
“Chew well when you eat.” I have never heard of chewing tofu before. I tend to eat tofu cold straight out of the refrigerator, but if you chew it well and let it come to room temperature, the original flavor of the soybeans comes out. When you eat Yokatan Tofu, be sure to enjoy the taste of soybeans.
They also show various ways of eating Yokatan Tofu on Instagram! https://www.instagram.com/yokatantofuclub/ Please check it out.
Where to Eat Yokatan Tofu
When it comes to Yakushima Island, Onoaida Onsen is the best place to go. It has a natural hot spring that flows directly from the source. In front of the hot spring, there is a “Salon Yunomine” operated by Jagaimo no Ouchi, which serves light meals. The “Agodashi Chazuke” (rice in tea with broth and cold tofu) with cold Yokatan Tofu is a menu that will satisfy women and children. It’s a meal packed with Yakushima Island’s local ingredients.
▶ Salon Yunomine https://yakushima-jyagaimonoouchi.com/yunomine/
Their gentle tofu is available for sale not only at the Yakushima Island Farmers’ Market but also at A Coop and Pontan-kan. Whether you live on Yakushima Island or not, they invite you to try their tofu, which is made with care and heart. The taste is said to be very gentle and flavorful. If you’re interested, you can visit their website at NPO Jyagaimono-ouchi at https://yakushima-jyagaimonoouchi.com/.