Yuba is a product made by heating soy milk, which is like a film covering the surface of hot soy milk. When the film is made on the surface of soy milk, it will be scooped up with bamboo stick, and made into a sheet. The sheet which is raw is called nama-yuba, nama meaning raw, which is rare because most yuba is sold dry. In Kyoto, the sheet of yuba is thin, but in Nikko city, Tochigi prefecture, the sheet is thicker.
Tofu bean curd is also a product made from soy beans, but the biggest difference in the making is that tofu uses coagulant, and yuba does not use coagulant, because it is naturally coagulated by the heat. The color of them are also different. The color of most tofu is white, but yuba has a yellowish color.
Restaurants in Kyoto are famous for serving nama-yuba, but only limited stores are making them, and is not common to eat at home. Nama-yuba is usually used as an ingredient for Buddhist vegetarian cuisine, and is also simply eaten raw like sashimi. In Kansai region, western part of Japan, it is often eaten raw or naturally dried, and in Nikko city, it is often deep fried.
It is told that yuba was first brought from China by a buddhist monk Saichou over 1200 years ago. The first yuba in Japan was introduced to a temple called Enryakuji which is located between Kyoto city, and Otsu city, Shiga prefecture. There is a theory that the name yuba comes from the word uba which means old lady, because the wrinkle of the yuba sheet looks like a wrinkle of old person’s face.