Story of Ān
Named after the Western Han Dynasty prince who invented tofu over 2,000 years ago, Ān is the latest soy-focused innovation by Cheffe Vicky Lau. According to legends, Han dynasty Chinese prince Liu Ān first invented Soy milk for his old and ill mother who wasn’t able to chew her food, by grinding soy beans into milk. One day, he accidentally mixed soy milk with gypsum powder, producing the first Tofu-like substance in history.
Cheffe-Proprietor Vicky Lau fell in love with Soy after the “Ode to Tofu” single-ingredient lunch menu, which showcased various forms of soy products in a fine dining format. The menu was Cheffe Vicky’s first foray into applying classical French techniques upon humble Soy products, drawing wide critical acclaim for its nostalgic, well-researched and impeccable East-meets-West execution.
Ode to Soy History
The earliest known written reference to Soy milk appears in a poem in China, entitled "Ode to Tofu" by author Su Ping.
Tofu is first mentioned in Japan in the diary of Hiroshige Nakaomi, a Shinto priest of the shrine at Nara. The Tofu was used as an offering at the shrine's altar.
The word "Tofu" 豆腐 is first written in Japan with the characters used today.
K. S. Lo, founder and managing director of the Hong Kong Soya Bean Products Co. Ltd., begins Soy milk production in Hong Kong. His product, originally named Vita Milk, was fortified with calcium, cod-liver oil, and vitamins, and sold in milk bottles, primarily as a nutritious and affordable beverage for refugees. In June 1940, the product was re-named to Sunspot, and in 1953, re-branded to Vitasoy.
Cheffe-Proprietor Vicky Lau fell in love with Soy after the “Ode to Tofu” single-ingredient lunch menu at TATE Dining Room, which showcased various forms of Soy products in a fine dining format. The menu was Cheffe Vicky’s first foray into applying classical French techniques upon humble Soy products, drawing wide critical acclaim for its nostalgic, well-researched and impeccable East-meets-West execution.
Opening of Mora, our first soy focused restaurant.
A long-awaited sequel to “Ode to Tofu”, Ān combines the thousands-years-old Chinese Soy milk tradition with Japanese Soy milk producing technology, offering new and contemporary approaches to the way Soy products are viewed and consumed. Ān uses only Grade 1 Canadian Soybeans to create its collection of edible Soybean products.
What makes us different?
Ān combines the thousands-years-old Chinese Soy milk tradition with Japanese Soy milk-producing technology, offering new and contemporary approaches to the way Soy products are viewed and consumed. Ān uses only Grade 1 Soybeans to create its collection of edible Soybean products, which are available now at the DATE by TATE store and also available on wholesale platforms.
Modern Approach to Soy
Today, Soy products are widely recognised as a healthy and sustainable dietary source of protein, containing all the essential amino acids of animal products. Dubbed the “Chinese cow”, Soybeans come without the excessive cholesterol, calories, saturated fat, and environmental carbon footprint found in meat.
Ān fuses sustainability with innovation to bring about the best possible culinary experience for our guests. Without trying to replace one diet for another, Ān’s aim is to simply pave the path for progress, and to normalise sustainable dining practices in an industry that demands change.
Crafted from careful research and trials and errors, Ān provides a destination for discerning guests to discover a new world of culinary gems focused on soy products. From in-house Soy milk creation to working closely with local suppliers and producers, Ān is conscious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, supporting the local community, and promoting cultural heritage preservation at a grassroots level.
“Sustainability and innovation belong together
for a strong positive impact on our business, society and environment.”
Cheffe-proprietor & Founder Vicky Lau
Through a marriage of time-tested traditions and modern technology, Soy products including Soybean milk and Tofu are made in-house, using a carefully researched bean-to-pulp extractor specified to the culinary goals of our Chef.
As the prime multi-faceted ingredient, Soy acts as a shepherd for a wide variety of products– a carrier of subtle enhancements to flavors and textures. Discovering the results will be a surprise that pays tribute to the rich culinary history of the humble Soybean.