Uh, Can You Find Tempeh in the Tempeh District?

Categories: Ask the Critic
Tempeh. Not from the Tempeh District.
In one of its regularly scheduled publicity stunts, PETA wrote to Ed Lee this week asking him to change the name of the Tenderloin to "Tempeh District." I'd consider the change ― Jones and O'Farrell will forever be known as "the Tandoorloin" after a Chronicle piece many years ago. One niggling question, though: Can you actually get tempeh in the neighborhood?

Here and there. Millennium (580 Geary) is currently offering a sweet soy and chile-glazed tempeh with seared bok choy, coconut red rice, and kohlrabi-cucumber salad for $24.95, and the Indonesian restaurant Borobudur (700 Post) naturally has tempeh goreng for $5.95 and oseng oseng tahu (tofu and tempeh) as part of its $27.50 rijstaffel menu. Other vegetarian Tenderloin restaurants such as Ananda Fuara and Golden Era don't serve the cultured soybean product.

I just returned from canvassing the neighborhood markets, where I spotted bags of za'atar, dried white fungus, a man hawking bubble machines (corner of Larkin and Eddy, if you're interested), and a taqueria I'd never noticed before, but no tempeh. You'll have to cross Market Street to go to Harvest (Eighth Street at Howard). But that's leaving the Tenderloin and crossing into SOMA. Not much of a tempeh district at all.

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It's a silly idea. Plus PETA spelled tempe wrong. Originated from Indonesia, we spell tempe without the "h". At least get the spelling right, PETA. It's like spelling the Vietnamese Pho "Phoh'"....it's wrong.

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