Taste Test: Best Smoked Tofu

Taste Test: Best Smoked Tofu

The next time you see a recipe calling for smoked tofu, ask yourself...which sort? The British style of smoked tofu...rubbery, coarse, bitter? Or the German style, ranging from the dry and tough to the moist and ham-like. You see, there are as many types of smoked tofu as there are producers. There is no accepted norm for what you'll get when you buy some. As to the question of quality, frankly some are better than others.

four types of smoked tofu
Clockwise from top left: Dragonfly, Taifun, Viana, Clear Spot

For our smoked tofu Taste Test we picked two UK brands and two German brands available widely in the UK. The immediate difference in colour is explained by the Germans favouring marination in soy-sauce in addition to the smoking process. This means they are not gluten-free as the soy-sauce contains wheat in both cases. But that isn't the only difference...

Dragonfly smoked tofu

In 5 words:
Plain, wet, flavourless, beany, bland

We're not sure whether UK producer Dragonfly mislabelled the pack we bought...it neither looked nor tasted like smoked tofu. This is pretty much just...tofu. It's not bad tofu, just not really smoked tofu.

Verdict: Plainly wrong
Best For: Leaving on the shelf
Veganoo Score: ★☆☆☆☆

Clear Spot smoked tofu

In 5 words:
Wet, earthy, bland, beany, crumbly

Smoky but certainly not imbued with that rich aromatic meaty taste that good smoked food can have. This is fairly typical of smoked tofu produced in the UK...half-hearted and unrefined. The smoky taste isn't strong enough to even feature in a dish once this stuff is cooked.

Verdict: Clearly not the best
Best For: Stir-fries, maybe
Veganoo Score: ★★☆☆☆

Viana smoked tofu

In 5 words:
Firm, dry, salty, smoky, tough

A German produced tofu but not of the highest calibre. Marinated in soy sauce as well as being smoked. A little over-salty so add less salt in cooking. This smoked tofu is extra firm and dry, but holds together well in cooking. Not moist enough as a deli-cut.

Verdict: Rough and ready
Best For: BBQ skewers with a sweet marinade
Veganoo Score: ★★★☆☆

Taifun smoked tofu - the world's best tofu

In 5 words:
Moist, tasty, smooth, mild, elastic

Another German tofu but in a league of its own. Available in wholefood shops but you won't find tofu this good in supermarkets. Soy-marinated, this smoked tofu has a ham-like quality. The smoking is thorough but not bitter, with a mild meaty flavour. Good enough to be enjoyed as deli cuts straight from the pack.

Verdict: King of Tofu and Taste Test Winner
Best For: Deli-cuts, sandwiches
Veganoo Score: ★★★★★

A range of styles and a range of qualities...and we only reviewed four brands. We wish all smoked tofu could be like the Taifun stuff, because these guys really have mastered the art. The Taifun tofu has so little in common with the the British stuff that it really is a different product altogether. The vegan food market is still immature in some ways, and the sophisticated nomenclature you see in the animal-cheese market has not yet developed.

Taifun tofu is produced in Freiburg, so why not have a 'nice cut of Freiburger' next time you make a smoked tofu sandwich.

Footnote: Ingredients
Here are the ingredients panels from the packs we reviewed.


Clear Spot



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  1. Taifun smoked tofu is my favourite too! On a crusty bread roll with caramelised onion houmous it is divine!

  2. Smoked tofu with houmous is a vegan classic! It might be a bit fusion, but mango chutney with it is great too.

    1. I must try that. wow. sounds like a good combo! thanks!
      I've only ever eaten the Taifun one, mainly because it's in Waitrose (along with the taifun weiners and the basil tofu (and after they looked like they were trying to drop it and moving to quorn, I feel obliged to buy it whenever I go in there.. so glad it has a long shelf life!)

  3. I really can't stand the Taifun - I've tried it twice and find it horribly dry and there's just something really offputting about the texture - I want to spit it out after a couple of chews. Wouldn't describe it as remotely ham-like (I am not vegetarian, though - I eat tofu because I like it rather than partially as a meat substitute). On the other hand, I really like the Clear Spot, although I have to say it is usually darker in colour than in your photograph - more obviously smoked and fairly firm. It's moist and tastes beautifully smokey and is really tasty stir-fried.

  4. I used to love the taifun one until I developed norovirus on the day I had it once, nothing to do with the tofu but the ensuing carnage put me off it for life. I love the cauldron one and its much cheaper.


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