Thousand Year Old Eggs & Silky Tofu (Pidan Doufu)
You won’t find this dish anywhere else in NoVA, which is why I order it every time I stop by A&J. Comfort food isn’t always smothered in butter, battered and fried. It invokes nostalgia and sentiment, is (usually) soft in consistency and packed full of flavor. “Pidan doufu”, a cold Chinese appetizer is made of silky tofu, chopped scallions, sesame oil and…yes… an ugly–misunderstood–preserved egg. What you’re supposed to do is cut up the egg with the knife and fork you’re given with the dish (hover over the image above for the aftermath), mix it all up and eat it by the spoonful. The result tastes like soft, silky scrambled eggs with fragrant bits of scallions, rich, buttery yolk and a whirl of sesame that fills your nostrils. I hate when people say “it’s an acquired taste” (because I can’t imagine someone saying it without their nose tipped up), but be warned–this dish isn’t for the faint of heart. I refused to eat it when my mom made it her mission to open my mind to other things on the menu (that weren’t fried or carb-heavy) and forced me to take a bite of this when I was a tween. I’ve loved it ever since, and dishes like this are why I keep an open mind when I see something crazy on any menu.
A&J VA: 4316 Markham St Ste B; Annandale, VA 22003; 703-813-8181
A&J MD: 1319 Rockville Pike, Ste C; Rockville, MD 20852; 301-251-7878