Pillowy soft buns with a spicy, meaty, and umami Mapo Tofu filling. A perfect marriage between Taiwanese-style buns and Sichuanese flavor.
Wait.. Vegan Mapo Tofu (麻婆豆腐) in a bun?! Believe it or not, I actually came across these gems at a street vendor specializing in plant-based buns in Taipei, Taiwan. While the idea of stuffing tofu in buns seems intuitive (given its meaty texture is just like minced pork), it really came from a place of hardship and poverty. Those who couldn’t afford to have meat on their dinner tables resorted to tofu as protein, leading to an explosion of plant-based recipes as people tried to replicate meatless versions of the foods they were familiar with, including this invention that I’m showcasing today. Perhaps this is why people often dub Taiwan as “Vegan Heaven.”
I love making these buns because I could make a bunch of them at a time, then freeze all of them for whenever I need a quick & delicious bite. They are re-heat-able by microwave (2 mins on high heat), but you could also re-steam them for arguably better texture.