15 de Ago de 2022


Tofu fix at Madame Chang’s

This has been a long week. To relieve tension I prescribe myself a tofu cure. A staple in Asia for 2,000 years, tofu is known for its ex...

This has been a long week. To relieve tension I prescribe myself a tofu cure. A staple in Asia for 2,000 years, tofu is known for its extraordinary nutritional benefits. It made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the curds into blocks.

Here is the good news: Tofu is low in calories, contains a relatively large amount of iron and calcium and best of all contains little fat. It is widely available in specialty stores in Panama (Minimax, Foodie) but I get my rations from the Chinese supermarkets in El Dorado while shopping for ethnic goodies.


Since I am in no mood to fiddle with pots and pans I take my whim to Madame Chang for my tofu fix.

A recent New York Times restaurant review said “ everything on the menu is worth recommending; delectable Peking duck, jumbo shrimp a la sal, the gingery San Blas crab, the prawn rolls, and clams in black-bean sauce”.

Although the Times says the place is smart casual rather than button up, I don my highest heels because the place is known to attract big name Panamanian personalities.

Have to look the part despite the weary week. Thank God for my Friday night wisdom in attire be cause with a quick glance I see Harley Mitchell across the dining room.

But I have come to Madame Chang to indulge in tofu. I start of ordering Eggplant with Tofu plus a bottle of red wine.

In addition to the food, one of the great things about coming to Madame Chang is being served by cheery Prospero who calls himself “ Happy New Year” (as the Spanish new year greeting says). With a welcoming smile and a flash of his gold tooth Prospero suggests Calvet Mouton 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. The eggplant is so tender I can’t make out which piece is tofu and which is eggplant. The black bean sauce aroma combines perfectly with the rich taste of the Cabernet. Half a bottle later I order Peasant tofu, which consist’s of steamed tofu covered with a gingery sauce.


Madame Chang has recently changed hands to Harold Nanz Zavalney.

He has revamped the place by creating a new vegetarian menu with 12 dishes. Of Ukrainian Panamanian heritage, he grew up contemplating hanging ducks in Avenida B and the idea of owning a Chinese restaurant lingered until now.

Nanz recommends, with a characteristic Dallas drawl, the Shu Chai Stick, which is a brochette of onion, pepper, mushroom and chayote with a peanut sauce.

A great thing about Madame Chang’s service is the fixed menus they offer for a set price. A great selection of meats and vegetables are mixed in tasty combinations.

I end the night with a delicious coconut cake so creamy it seems made of sweet clouds.

I say goodbye to dear Prospero and thank worldly Mr. Nanz for the culinary therapy that has made a hard week´s tension fade away.