Traditional Hakka versions of yong tau foo consists of tofu cubes stuffed and heaped with minced meat (usually lamb or pork) and herbs, then fried until golden brown, or sometimes braised. Variations include usage of various condiments, including eggplants, shiitake mushrooms, and bitter melon stuffed with the same meat paste. Traditionally, yong tau foo is served in a clear yellow bean stew along with the bitter melon and shiitake variants.
Hakka yong tau foo served with brown sweet bean sauce
In Southeast Asia, the term "yong tau foo" is used to describe a dish instead of the stuffed tofu item exclusively. It is a variation of the above Hakka cuisine as cooked by other dialect groups. The dish can contain a varied selection of food items, including young tau foo, fish balls, crab sticks, bitter melons, cuttlefish, lettuce, ladies fingers, as well as chilis, and various forms of fresh produce, seafood and meats common in Chinese cuisine. Vegetables such as bitter melon and chilis are usually filled with surimi. The foods are then sliced into bite-size pieces, cooked briefly in boiling broth and then served either in the broth as soup or with the broth in a separate bowl. The dish is eaten with chopsticks and a soup spoon and can be eaten by itself or served with a bowl of steamed rice, noodles or rice vermicelli. Another variation of this dish would be to serve it with laksa gravy or curry sauce. Essential accompaniments are a spicy, vinegary chili sauce, originally made with red fermented bean curd and distantly similar in taste to Sriracha sauce, and a distinctive brown sweet bean sauce or hoisin sauce for dipping.