Sometimes you order a dinner starter so good that you almost forget you still have more food coming.
Such is the case with the Dau Hu Rang Muoi — better known as the salt and pepper tofu — at So Ba Vietnamese restaurant in East Atlanta.
The dish is simple, but its flavors are complex — cubes of firm tofu fried in cornstarch so hot that it creates a light but definitive crunch, accompanied by lightly sauteed onion and hot pepper slices (this isn’t a plate for the spice averse).
But it’s the batter seasoning that really elevates the affair, a mix of salt and hot Thai chili pepper that provides a satisfying savory blend to a plate with more depth than your average appetizer.
You might still have some steaming pho or com tam coming (all delicious in their own right), but know that you’ll already have met the star of your meal.