Recipe: Red chili tofu banh mi

Sing Sing Chef Robert Lee pairs his red chili tofu banh mi with Chaka Khan Sour IPA from House of Funk. Photos courtesy of Sing Sing Beer Bar.

Paired with Chaka Khan Sour IPA from House of Funk Brewing

Sing Sing Beer Bar opened in February 2019, adding its own unique vibe to the Main Street scene. It quickly established itself as a comfortable, relaxed place to grab some exceptional food and beer. The menu focuses on pizza and pho, along with other snacks that go well with beer like chicken wings, calamari, BBQ chicken, and kimchi grilled cheese. The 20-tap beer list is dynamic and diverse with a wide range of B.C. breweries featured. Wine and cocktails are also available. While the food menu pretty much stays the same all the time (locals would complain if it changed), the bar staff keeps beers rotating so there is always something fresh and unique on tap.

Sing Sing chef Robert Lee created this dish featuring his house recipe for red chili fried tofu.

For this recipe, Chef Robert Lee decided to make something new that features some of Sing Sing’s house recipes, including their red chili fried tofu, which is served with a house seasoning blend and Japanese mayo, as well as a house-made cashew cheese that is the sauce on their mushroom pizza. They chose to pair it with the Chaka Khan Sour IPA from House of Funk Brewing in North Vancouver.

“I like this pairing for a couple reasons,” said Alvin Pillay, Food Director for the Donnelly Group, the owners of Sing Sing. “The sandwich is bringing the richness of yeast-risen bread; tofu—fried to create a nice crunch and fatty flavour; fresh and pickled vegetables; and then herbs and mayo round out the flavour profile of the sandwich.”

“The Chaka Khan Sour’s flavour of lacto culture and hops lends a nice cleanse to the palate without overpowering any of the elements,” Pillay continued. “I’m not a huge sour drinker, but I think House of Funk did a great job with that beer.”

Like many other restaurants and breweries in B.C., Sing Sing was closed for a time earlier this year because of the pandemic, but it has done well since being able to re-open. An outdoor patio with umbrellas and heaters has certainly helped, and they are also looking into tenting options for the winter. The interior is wide open and airy, a place where everyone can feel comfortable even during COVID-19 times. —Joe Wiebe

Photo courtesy of Sing Sing Beer Bar


  1 demi baguette

• 4-6 pieces firm tofu, cut into 3” long rectangles, patted dry

• 4 tbsp grapeseed oil

• red chili powder (to taste)

• kosher salt (to taste)

• 1 cup red cabbage, finely shredded

• ¼ cup pickled carrots

• ¼ cup pickled daikon

• fresh cilantro (to taste)

• 4 tbsp spreadable cashew cheese

• sriracha hot sauce (to taste)

• hoisin sauce (to taste)


1. In a small sauté pan heat the grapeseed oil on medium heat. Carefully place the tofu into the pan and fry on all sides. Once golden on all sides remove from the pan and place on a paper towel. Season the tofu on all sides with chili powder & salt.

2. Heat baguette until the crust is well toasted. Cut in half and begin to build the sandwich.

3. Spread cashew cheese on both sides of the bread. (Alternatives for the cashew cheese include: silken tofu seasoned to preference, oyster sauce, or good old mayonnaise.) Sriracha hot sauce and hoisin can be added to taste.

4. Layer in the fried tofu, vegetables & herbs.

This story originally appeared in the Fall/Winter 2020 issue of The Growler, out now! You can find B.C.’s favourite craft beer and cider guide at your local brewery, cidery, select private liquor stores, and by subscription here.

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