Take a whiff in the bustling night markets—in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan—and you would detect an unbearable odour permeating through the bazaar.
The cringe-worthy stench comes from a traditional Chinese delicacy called Stinky Tofu and it is actually an all-time favourite delicacy. The Stinky Tofu is akin to Singaporeans’ beloved durian, where an acquired taste is required to enjoy this snack.
So what exactly is a Stinky Tofu? Well, this street snack is essentially a fermented bean curd that is available in a variety of cooking methods and it can be served raw, deep-fried or steamed. For foreigners and first-timers, this dish could be an episode of Fear Factor. But should you be daring enough to overcome the overwhelming redolence, a culinary treat awaits.
The Stinky Tofu aka Chou Dou Fu can be easily found in Taiwan’s roadside vendors. You can even shut your eyes and let your olfaction guide you to the stall
Surprise, surprise! Despite the horrifying nausea-inducing pungent smell, snaking queues are actually part of the experience of getting your Stinky Tofu; yes it is very popular.
People in Taiwan seriously love their Stinky Tofu. And as a general rule of thumb, the smellier, the better! Not even kidding.
The recipes for Stinky vary across regions and even families, but a trait remains constant: the stench.
Fresh tofu undergoes a brining procedure—which is relatively similar to the production of cheese. Dried shrimps and vegetables are added during this tedious process. Upon fermentation, the Tofu is then cut up into bite-size squares.
While steamed and deep-fried renditions are readily available, it is the latter that is more popular. The finished fried product is then drizzled with condiments of your choice. Choose from vinegar, chilli oil, soy sauce and more.
Now, is this something you would dare to try?