In my previous post, I told you about our little cycle trip around Inle Lake and mentioned something called the “Tofu Palace Tour”. I decided to do a separate post about it, and although it may not necessarily look like much, why it was such a good thing to do.
So, the Tofu Palace Tour is a tour set up by a local guy in a small village which is known for manufacturing various tofu products. Yam (the guy who started it) is a super friendly guy with a lovely smile and is clearly passionate about his village and improving the life of the locals.
The idea of the tour is to see the manufacturing process, he lets you try samples of the products, you pay by donation and this money is then put back into the village infrastructure to help it grow. It goes on practical things like schooling and medical care that will vastly benefit the local people.
It’s not a big company, and it’s not super exciting, but it’s the sort of thing I love to do to get an insight into daily life for the people there. I really admired Yam’s entrepreneurial spirit and how he wanted to help his village.
The conditions are very basic, the process usually involves cooking over an open fire in hot wooden huts or drying in the sun.
Whilst it was interesting, it saddened me to see so many young kids working…
But I didn’t feel this was a ploy to get more money, I do think it was just a genuine look into their everyday life. Afterall, this is the reality for a lot of families in many locations across Asia (and other countries as well).
I asked if the kids go to school and I was assured that they do, I cannot remember now if it was the weekend or a public holiday, but I was told that they help out their family’s when they are not at school.
Yam told me they will usually get up before sunrise to start work, and continue throughout the day and into the evening. It’s a long day for them to make the amount of products that they need in order to earn enough money.
It was actually quite amazing how many different products they make from tofu. From savoury snacks similar to french fry crisps to sticky sweet crackers and more!
The tour was fascinating, although it lasted perhaps a little longer than it needed to. One of the local guys had been making some sort of fermented wine from the by-products which I tasted and immediately regretted. It was an interesting experience though and I enjoyed looking around the village!
Have you done a similar tour? What did you think?