This is a wonderful Japanese way to combine the softness of tofu with a contrasting crunch of tiny fried sardines. Called chirimen jako, the dried young sardines are pearl gray, about a millimeter wide and less than an inch long. They are sold at Japanese markets in plastic bags. Out of the packaging, they are slightly soft, but they perk up in hot oil and turn wonderfully crispy — like oceanic bacon bits. 

Shreds of shiso add earthiness and crushed toasted sesame seeds contribute richness; if shiso is unavailable, subsitute thinly sliced green onion, just like with regular hiya yakko. A light drizzle of Japanese seasoned soy sauce brings it all together. This preparation is spectacular with homemade tofu.