Why is tofu such a joke? The ages-old bean curd seems to be the Brussels sprout for anyone who lived through the 1970s. The American translation doesn’t seem to have helped improve its dowdy image: barbecued tofu cakes, tofurkey. But if you want to know how to make tofu taste great, ask the folks whose ancestors invented it. After two millennia, they’ve come up with quite a few novel uses. And since scientists are saying that the phytoestrogens in soy products can help reduce your risk of breast cancer, you female readers might want to put tofu on your plate a little more often. At China Tofu’s world headquarters and factory outlet, you can find varieties you never knew existed: tofu-skin knots, perfect for braised-meat dishes; tofu noodles, thick and thin; sweet tofu custard; tofu ham and other fake-meat specialties. If you want to try all of these, plus that Taiwanese specialty, the aptly named stinky tofu, drive to Union City to go to China Tofu’s bargain-priced restaurant, where they prove meat and tofu are two great things that taste great together.