For dessert: the Vietnamese comfort food dau hu duong, a silky warm custard of barely set soymilk drizzled with a zingy ginger syrup and optional swirls of sweetened coconut milk; it's as hard to stop eating as an ice cream sundae. A mint-green colored version is delicately flavored with the tropical leaf pandan.
You may hit it lucky if Tran is in one of his experimental phases, obsessed with perfecting a new tofu item. But as it stands, sampling the 20-odd dishes he presently serves -- not to mention the ultra-fresh main ingredient -- takes you on a revealing journey into tofu's seemingly infinite potential.
Vinh Loi Tofu
Location: 18625 Sherman Way, No. 101, Reseda, (818) 996-9779
Price: All dishes $1 to $6.50
Best dishes: Cari chay (curry with rice noodles); bun bo Hue (rice noodles in spicy beef-flavored broth with soy chicken and soy beef); bun bi thit nuong (noodle salad with coconut sauce); nem nuong cuon (spring roll); dau hu duong la dua va nuoc cot dua (tofu custard with pandan leaf, coconut milk and ginger syrup).
Details: Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Lot parking. No credit cards.