General Tso's Tofu 

Hot Dish

How does a dish reach cult status? In the case of General Tso's Tofu from Oriental Express ($5.50 lunch, $8.50 dinner), the slightly sweet, crispy batter is the answer.

Picture this: an entire slab of tofu cut width-wise into long blocks, thickly battered, deep-fried, and doused in sweet, dark brown sauce with chopped water chestnuts and a hit of after heat, then garnished with sesame seeds. Lump of rice on the side. Next to that, a few broken lettuce leaves for roughage.

For best results, let the dish sit for a few minutes before diving in. The idea is to let the batter absorb maximum sauce, thereby transforming it into a thick chewy shell on the outside of the tofu. Not only does that allow the bean curd to chill out--literally--but the resulting sauce-soaked batter is a taste reminiscent of a donut. A plate of donut wrapped tofu? Yep, and it's revered by a decent-sized swath of tofu lovers in Boise.

Carnivorous types who aren't fans of the soybean can get versions with chicken or beef, but take it from a carnivorous type: The tofu is where it's at.

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