I probably wouldn't have connected the words "tofu" and "terrific" twenty or thirty years ago. Before I'd been exposed to the wide array of Asian cuisine, tofu was merely a meat substitute that I considered bland and boring.
Now I know that tofu can be a canvas upon which culinary art is made—though if you're lucky enough to have a place making fresh tofu in your area, it can be delicious on its own. Even if you don't have such a store, you can enjoy store-bought tofu simply, as I do, by cutting a little square and topping it with dashi and shio konbu. (Okay, you'll need a good Japanese store to find shio konbu, or you can ask a Japanese friend to bring some back from Japan.)
But go to a variety of Asian restaurants, as I do in Seattle, and you'll discover tons of ways to try tofu. Chefs top it with exotic ingredients, drop it in hot pots, and even fry it to put on sandwiches. The texture lends itself well to experimentation, and it is a sponge in absorbing flavors.
See the slideshow above for 10 terrific tofu dishes, Asian-style, that you can try in the Seattle area.
Ma Po Tofu at Bamboo Garden »
Mince Pork with Bean Curd at Szechuan 99 »
Tofu Pudding at Northwest Tofu »
Tofu Banh Mi at Saigon Vietnam Deli »
Miso Honey Tofu Burger at Katsu Burger »
Agedashi Tofu at Kisaku »
Avocado Curry at Araya's Place »
Soon Doo-Bu Jigae at Hae-Nam Kalbi & Calamari »
Silky Tofu with Aged Duck Egg at Facing East »
Stinky Tofu with Garlic Kimchi at Henry's Taiwan »
About the author: Jay Friedman is a Seattle-based freelance food writer who happens to travel extensively as a sex educator. An avid fan of noodles (some call him "The Mein Man"), he sees sensuality in all foods, and blogs about it at his Gastrolust website. You can follow him on Twitter @jayfriedman.