Friday, October 24, 2008

Flying Elephant - Tofu Snack - Beef Flavored

Flying Elephant - Tofu Snack - Beef FlavoredSo why am I reviewing something called, "Tofu Snack" on a beef jerky review blog? Well, because it says it's "beef flavored", and because I can't read Chinese. For all I know, somewhere on this package it says it's supposed to be similar to jerky.

But truthfully, I'm reviewing this because I want to find a tofu-based jerky-alternative that actually tastes good. If you recall, I already reviewed several brands of tofu-jerky made by American companies that all got "dog treat" ratings from me. In those reviews I said that there's a lot of tofu-based snacks made by asian food companies that taste much better. Hence, I wanted to find one to review.

This brand of "Flying Elephant" is rather mysterious. I don't find anything on it through my Internet searches, but it's made in Taiwan and distributed to the USA by Walong Marketing, Inc., of Buena Park, CA. Walong specializes in distributing Taiwan-made foods to the States. So, can a Taiwan-based food maker do any better in making tofu-jerky than the American food-makers?


Soybeans, sugar, salt, chili, artificial roasted beef flavor (aromatic alcohols, palm oil, peanut oil), salt, soy sauce, monosodium glutamate, sorbic acid, FD&C yellow #5.


The first taste I get from the surface is a heavy sweet flavor, and an "oily flavor" if you can imagine that. Moving into the chew, I don't taste much at all, except for a slight "fried tofu" flavor.

This stuff tastes like fried tofu, and coincidentally, looks like fried tofu. It probably tastes more like tofu than any of the American-made tofu jerky alternatives. If you've ever had fried tofu, you might know the taste I'm talking about.

It still has an aroma and taste that resembles the American-made stuff I reviewed earlier, but not quite as terrible. I think I described that stuff as "half-soured milk that has been sitting in a bowl in Lucky Charms cereal". This "tofu snack" from Flying Elephant has a more fresh taste, though still sharing some resemblance to that half-sour milk, yet tasting more similar to real fried tofu.

As for being beef flavored, I don't know what they're talking about. I taste nothing resembling beef.

In terms of saltiness, there is a salty taste in there, but not strong at all.

The predominant taste in this is the sweet flavor, followed by the fried tofu taste as a close second. The third most dominant flavor is the combination of the palm and peanut oil.

Overall, it's "ok", in terms of taste if you happen to like tofu. If you don't like tofu in any way, shape, or form, you'll probably find this disgusting.

Meat Consistency

These are pieces of fried tofu, cut into bite sized pieces, and about the same thickness as thin sliced jerky.

It's very oily to the touch. I keep rubbing my fingers and wiping them on my pants with each piece.

But it's very easy to eat. Not chewy at all. As expected, it doesn't chew anything like meat. It kinda crumbles apart in my mouth, which is exactly the way fried tofu eats.

Flying Elephant - Tofu Snack - Beef Flavored

Flying Elephant - Tofu Snack - Beef Flavored
Product Value

I paid $1.49 for this 4.93 ounce bag at a 99 Ranch Market in Irvine, CA. That works out to a price of $0.30 per ounce, making this extremely cheap (as far as tofu-based jerky alternatives are concerned).

I'd say that this gives this an excellent value if you're a vegan/vegetarian looking for a beef jerky alternative. It's got a better taste, and a fresher taste, than any of the American-made tofu-jerkies I reviewed earlier. This stuff is also priced WAY more less.

For general jerky snacking purposes, it really doesn't hold up to eating real meat. It tastes nothing like beef (as the package claims to do), and doesn't really provide the chewing satisfaction. But even if you just evaluate it on its own merits, it still didn't provide much snackability for me. I still don't find myself wanting to eat more and more.


I'm giving this a fair rating.

While this "beef flavored" tofu snack from Flying Elephant tastes a lot better than the American-made tofu-jerkies, it's still not that great tasting and therefore doesn't get the higher "average" rating from me. But then again, for you vegans/vegetarians, you might see this totally the opposite, and may actually build a craving for this. For the most part, this is really just a sweet-oily snack in the form of fried tofu, and doesn't have much more taste than that.

But what I think makes this taste better than the American-made tofu-jerky is that it's pieces of whole fried tofu, instead of some other kind of blended or pureed concoction. That allows it to retain the true flavor of fried tofu, instead of some other kind of scientific-laboratory taste.

Perhaps if Flying Elephant could create a more American-looking package design, and get this into Whole Foods Market, I think they could put the likes of Tofurky, Tasty Eats, Primal Strips, and other tofu-jerky companies out of business.

Rating: Fair

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  1. With these ingredients, it would not make it onto the shelves in whole foods:

    Soybeans, Sugar, Salt, Chili Spice, Condiments (Salt, Soysauce, Monosodium Glutamate), Hexadiene Acid(Preservative), FD&C Yellow No.5

  2. It actually also contains brill fish and shrimp. So it not exactly not 100% vegetarian friendly.