If you are of East or South East Asian heritage and live in my part of the world, there is a very strong chance you have one of these in your home. Or possibly twenty or so.
I used to think this was just something my family did; after all, my mother is one of those people who is obsessed with not throwing things away. ("Don't be so wasteful, you can wash this and re-use it" was a frequently-heard phrase in my house growing up)
But then one day, while at a dinner party at a Malaysian-born friend's house, it came time to pack away some of the left overs, and she opened a drrawer to reveal a treasure trove of tofu containers. "Oh, you use these too?" I asked.
"Of course!" she replied. "Doesn't everyone?"
Well, perhaps not; I wonder if this is one thing that separates the Asians from the non-Asians. See, white folks buy tofu as well, albeit in smaller quantities than Asians. But they are likely to buy it in a regular supermarket, in which case it will probably come in vaccuum packaging or something like that, and be quite expensive.
If you are Asian, however, you are more likely to shop in an Asian grocery, which is where you will find fresh bean curd in these sorts of plastic containers. They are also about half the price of the supermarket variety, which is probably a large part of the reason that Asians shop there. Many white folks find Asian groceries a bit intimidating in their foreignness and don't go there.
So aside from the value of the tofu that comes inside these containers, they make for a cheap and easily stored substitute for tupperware, and it seems Asian mothers just can't get enough of them. My own mother must have at least 50 of them (alongside another 50 Chinese take-away containers, the other tupperware substitute).
But I've never lived outside Melbourne, so I want to know; is this a strictly Melbourne thing to do? Does tofu in other cities, and indeed countries, come packaged in this way? And if so, do the Asians there collect them obsessively? Or alternatively, are you a non-Asian who has a big stash of these somewhere?