Click-through: How Tofu Came to America

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6:08 PM HKT, Sat August 18, 2018

The humble soybean has found itself in the spotlight of US-China relations of late thanks to its role in the ongoing trade war.

While Forbes recently quoted the head of the US Soybean Export Council as saying China’s targeting of the product was a “dumb move,” China made the bean the star of a Trump trash talking English-language propaganda video about the trade war:

But we’re not here to talk about the trade war so much as to point you toward an article that touches on the soybean’s historical role in US-China ties — or more specifically on how the soy-based foodstuff tofu found its way to America.

That’s the tale spun in this article from Smithsonian Magazine, a publication from the eponymous institute. The piece looks at the fascinating story of Dr. Yamei Kin, who “was something of a celebrity” in her field.

The author writes:

A year earlier, with much fanfare in the press, she had embarked on a tour of China to investigate the culinary uses of tofu, with a headline in the June 10, 1917, edition of The Sunday New York Times Magazine proclaiming, “Woman Off to China as Government Agent to Study Soy Bean: Dr. Kin Will Make Report for United States on the Most Useful Food of Her Native Land.” Now she was back to share her findings.

Read the full article on

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