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Souley Vegan, located at Broadway and 3rd Street in downtown Oakland, conjures up a sense of Southern comfort with murals of jazz artists like Louis Armstrong and Big Mama Thornton covering the walls. The air is scented by the steaming gravy wafting off the top of one patron’s mashed potatoes. Blues tunes carry over the entire seating area and bar, as does the sizzling of something frying in a batter: tofu.

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Deep in West Oakland, behind a big gray façade, is one of the most lauded soymilk, tofu and yuba factories in the Bay Area—Hodo Soy Beanery. Inside, Minh Tsai, tofu master and co-founder of Hodo, runs around wearing tall white rubber boots and a striped railroad hat while checking on each steaming batch of soy milk.

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