Black Beans and Black Tofu of Kenting

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Black Beans and Black Tofu of Kenting

There is a rise of healthcare trend in recent years. Slimming and beauty are becoming more popular. “Black bean” products have gradually become a hot popular food, for example, black bean milk, black bean tofu, black bean soy sauce, black bean water and many others. 

In addition to the deliciousness, they can blacken and brighten the hair, tonify kidney, promote diuresis, reduce edema, etc. Here is an article about other health benefits of black beans.

In the Hengchun area, the history of black beans cultivation is very early. “There are two kinds of beans (large and small). … Nowadays, the cooked and rotten one is small bean. The cooked and crispy one is a large bean. The distinction is clearer. There are black and white beans. White beans are used to make tofu, and black beans are used in grinding oil” (Tu Jishan 1960).

black beans growing in kenting

Black beans on the farm in Hengchun area

In addition to the deliciousness, they can blacken and brighten the hair, tonify kidney, promote diuresis, reduce edema, etc

Tu Jishan
packaged black tofu sold in supermarket in taiwan

Even such food production behemoths as I-MEI Foods in Taiwan are using black beans to make tofu in big scale and then sell in supermarkets all over Taiwan. 

handmade black bean tofu

As an opposite to I-MEI giant production scale, you still can find handmade black bean tofu. 

According to a proverb in Hengchun, “Hengchun black bean is not frightened by wind.”

This is the experience gained by farmer when planting beans since ancient time.

The downhill wind blows strongly to the Manzhou area. The planted native species of small black beans can sprout and stand in the strong wind. Their growth period is affected by the wind damage. Therefore, the plant is shorter. To propagate, black beans will insert all the nutrients into the seed, therefore the Manzhou black beans with smaller seeds are rich not only in flavor, but also in nutrition.

Black beans are commonly known as “Wu dou” are mainly consisted of two kinds of beans. These are green kernel black beans and yellow kernel black beans. As the names suggest, the bean color is black, while the kernel color is green and yellow respectively. Green kernel black beans (including Pingtung green kernel black beans and Tainan No. 3) are the most nutritious. They contain an extremely high content of protein, vitamins, iron, amino acids, carbohydrates, etc.

Gangkou area resident sorting black beans

Gangkou area resident sorting black beans

Yellow kernel black beans (including Hengchun black beans, “Black and White Beauty”, Manzhou native small black beans, and Tainan No. 5) and green kernel beans are similar. They are rich in dietary fiber, and they can prevent aging and constipation. Their edible value is very high, and they are suitable for making soy sauce, honey black beans, bean drums, miso, etc.

Black beans are black in color because of the seed coats which are formed by dark anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are very good antioxidants, and they can scavenge free radicals in the body. According to the Chinese materia medica book “Ben Cao She Yi” of Chen Zangqi, pharmacologist in the Tang Dynasty, “Black beans: improve the eyes and calm the heart; they warm the mind. When taking black beans in long time, it comes with black hair and good color, and it has whitening and anti-aging effects.” Hence, black beans are not only helpful for body healthcare, but also a holy product for skincare and beauty (Liu Yuqing 劉於晴文). 

Along with a Chinese Yam, and Rain Mushroom, which unlike blacks has a lower barrier to entry in the farming as a business,  which also has many health benefits black beans are still playing a big role in Kenting resident’s daily life. 

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