Sichuan Cuisine, originated in Sichuan and Chongqing in Southwest China, is very popular at home and abroad. I’m sure you will find many restaurants in China Town serve Sichuan food. And Mapo Tofu is one of the most famous dishes of Sichuan Cuisine.
Then, who invented Mapo Tofu?
About 180 years ago, a young man called Chen Chunfu and his wife opened a small restaurant at the Wanfu Bridge on the northern outskirt of Chengdu in Sichuan province. Chen’s wife was good at preparing a spicy dish of bean curd. The Passers-by and traders always liked to have a taste of the meal made by her while taking a rest in the vicinity of the Wanfu Bridge. Some customers asked for flavoring this Tofu dish with meat. Taking the request into account, Chen’s wife modified the dish by adding ground beef into the dish and paying more attention to the cooking temperature. Meanwhile, she cut tofu into pieces and boiled for minutes so as to make tofu more tender. The tofu with ground beef she cooked was characterized by numbing, spicy hot, hot temperature, fresh, tender and soft, which made the dish so tasty and people always asked for one more served.
The couple’s restaurant was always crowded with customers from then on. Later many high-quality restaurants used her recipe to prepare the same dish, and introduced it to other places in the country.
As Chen’s wife had some pock marks on the face, she was called Pock-marked Grandma Chen (Ma Po Chen in Chinese). And the dish was named Pock-marked Grandma Chen’s Bean Curd, popularly called as Mapo Tofu.