Making My Own Yuba in Nikko!

I'm not sure why, but this is one of my most memorable experiences of 2013. In early summer, I was part of an English-language-learning bus tour that went to Nikko, and our first stop was a little shop on the side of the highway.

Actually, it was next to a factory that produces yuba. Step inside, and you can learn a bit about yuba and how it's made.

So, what is yuba? The simple answer is: tofu skin. My first impression upon hearing about yuba was that it sounded unpleasant, and I was fairly apprehensive about trying it. If you've had tofu before, you know it has almost no flavor of its own, so it's served with sauces and other edibles. But I had never heard about tofu skin. Would it be chewy? Crunchy? Does it have a flavor?
 Well, let's make some and find out! Start with a pot of liquid tofu - soy milk. It's heated to near boiling, and to speed the creation of a skin it is fanned quickly.
 To pull off the skin, a toothpick is inserted in one corner of the pan and dragged across the top to the opposite corner.
 Then, the skin (nama-yuba) is lifted out. In factories, a horizontal rod is lifted out from the center of the pan to make sheets instead of pulling the skin by hand.
 Like tofu and soy milk, it has almost no taste. A small bit of sauce is added for flavor. With a slightly rubber texture it resembles some cheeses and I enjoyed the taste. While yuba is very similar to tofu in texture and flavor, it isn't actually tofu because of the way it is prepared.
 If you really love yuba, you can buy it fresh-frozen from the factory. Usually Japanese stores like this selling cold goods will pack them in special bags and use ice packs to keep it cool, especially in summer. In Nikko, yuba is usually rolled into fat logs while Kyoto's yuba is kept flat.
From the yuba factory we went to Nikko, where we had a large lunch with several yuba and tofu dishes included. I think I liked everything you see here! There's yuba ramen, yuba soba, yuba with noodles, yuba ice cream...

It's not too difficult to make yuba at home and recipes can be found all over the internet. After making it, yuba can be fried or served in a bunch of other dishes. There are shops all over Nikko where you can try yuba and probably see it being made, and maybe make it yourself! And you can buy yuba to use in your own dishes at home - water can be added to dried yuba to make it "normal" again.


  1. Very cool. I'll have to ask my parents if they eat yuba. I've never even heard of it... but I imagine it'd be very delicious with some shoyu and ginger.

  2. I get the feeling that it's not an everyday thing for most Japanese people, though tofu does get served often. Actually, despite the love for sushi in America, ramen might be the most common Japanese meal.

  3. Ramen has gotten very popular here in California the past two or three years... and I'm not talking about Top Ramen. A bunch of ramen restaurants have popped up all over. I'm not a huge fan though... I'd rather have udon. Happy New Year buddy!