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Soy to the World

August 15, 2007


Recently I’ve been stopping by Soy to the World on the way to work to pick up breakfast or snacks to hold me out throughout the day. Located right next to the First Hawaiian Bank in Manoa, this place never seems to be as busy as the nearby Island Manapua or McDonalds.

The concept here is SOY. Everything from cookies to smoothies and desserts all involve soy in one form or another. The interior is beyond spotless – I haven’t seen a cleaner looking store in Hawaii! And that’s a good thing, considering the soymilk and tofu are fresh made in store every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

If you click on the photo to get a bigger picture, you’ll find some of the daily offerings such as okara, pasta salad, potatoloaf (like meatloaf), soy wraps, and a variety of tofu.

From left to right: samples of the Michigan soybeans they use; a peek into the back kitchen; bottled soymilk comes in three sizes.

Soymilk in the making.

Let’s start with the basics: the original plain organic soymilk. It’s unsweetened which is a major plus, allowing you to drink it plain or add a bit of honey, sugar, whatever you desire. The milk is thick, nutty, and super creamy. They offer an extra creamy version, though I can’t even imagine how thick that would be…probably spoonable!

For a little more, you can also get the soymilk in a barley flavor. Funny thing is, I could taste barely any difference between the plain and barley. So aside from the aesthetically pleasing shade of milky green, I’ll just stick to the plain soymilk.

Tofu comes in three varieties: zaru, soft, and firm. The zaru is my favorite for eating plain or with a bit of shoyu. It’s the perfect size for lunch…and you have room left for dessert! All you need is a spoon, a little pack of shoyu and you’re good to go! Its texture is that of a dense whipped cream, incredibly soft and mild.

Sometimes we get the soft tofu for my grandma when she makes various types of stews over the weekend.

And for stir-fries, the firm tofu is the way to go. When comparing Soy to the World to other local tofu factories, I could taste a huge difference in quality for the zaru and soft tofu. But as far as the firm tofu goes, you may as well stick with other brands that are better priced.

The tofu wrap is an interesting creation, I’m not exactly sure what’s inside, but it was super salty. The wrap had two ‘main’ fillings, one was thin, spongy, shoyu-soaked which reminded me of the Chinese mock meat that my grandma eats on occasion. The other involved tofu whipped with lettuce and carrots. It was a small wrap, but even after eating the first one, I was seriously out-salted…it was really, really salty. I needed at least another two mugs of tea to finish the second half. However, my favorite part of this item wasn’t the wrap but the tofu pasta salad that came on the side, just like mac salad, except even creamier (if that’s even possible!) and somewhat ‘healthy’ tasting.

The rice pudding is a major no-no, gluey and flavorless for a half filled $3 cup. Pictured here is the vanilla bean rice pudding, it also comes in other flavors like haupia and lemon pudding. But if the vanilla is a standard for judging, then Kozy Shack still reigns in my world of rice pudding.

Overall? High quality products with prices to match. Stick with zaru tofu, plain soymilk… the smoothies are pretty good too, thick, not too sweet and more heavy on the soy than fruit side. I’ll come back to try the okara cookies and muffins, but won’t expect too much.

Links to Soy to the World reviews:

Star Bulletin

Honolulu Weekly

Soy to the World

Manoa Marketplace

2764 Woodlawn Dr

Honolulu, HI 96806

(808) 988-8555

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