Crumbling bridges and ramshackle walls – that sounds like a botched construction job, or tofucrumb construction (豆腐渣工程 dòufuzhā gōngchéng), as the Chinese would say. Borrowed from a byproduct of tofu and soy milk production, the figurative term is 豆腐渣 dòufuzhā (literally “tofu crumbs, tofu residue”). The crumbly press residue (also called okara in Japan and pomace in the West when making wine and beer) are made into dishes in China, after all, nothing should go to waste. With the addition of water, seasoning, and all kinds of other things, tasty oatmeal and desserts are created. Of course, the tofu crumbs are not suitable for use in construction (they aren’t actually used). But if there is a crumble or wobble in the construction or if the work was obviously sloppy, the Chinese like to say that “dòufuzhā” served as the building material.
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