Stinky tofu, either you love it or you hate it.

What is stinky tofu?

It is fermented bean curd that give out a strong odour which some would refer it to the smell of a sewage. It is considered an Asian delicacy, especially in countries like Hong Kong and Taiwan. You can easily find stalls selling this delicacy in all the night markets.

In Chinese, this is known as chou dou fu (臭豆腐) which literally translates to smelly tofu.

StinkyTofu
Yummy!

The first taste

I must have came across this word while I watched all the Taiwanese variety and food shows on the television in my teenage years. I was intrigued by the name, hmm… stinky tofu. It got my wondering how stinky can it be and how does the stink taste?

My wish was granted when I travelled to Taiwan for the first time in 2006. I was excited to try it but, I caught a cold. A cold so bad that I lost my sense of smell and taste completely!

However, that did not stop me from from buying one serving from a food stall in Shih lin night market. I was merely going through the motions of eating, never truly tasted the stinky tofu though.

At least I can say that I have ate it!

Taking the first bite of stinky tofu
Taking the first bite of stinky tofu

And again 6 years later

I returned to Taiwan in December 2012 with friends. This time, the objective was to countdown to 2013 at the yearly countdown concert near the iconic Taipei 101.

I had to remind myself to keep healthy before the holiday because I had a mission, to challenge myself to eat stinky tofu for real this time.

Upon reaching the Taipei airport, we took off to Taichung on the highspeed rail. On the first night, we explored Yi Zhong night market. This was also the time we attempted stinky tofu, the fried one.

While some of my friends were not big fan of it, I fell hard in love the moment I sinked my teeth into it.

I knew we were meant to be! I had it almost every night as we explored various night markets in Taiwan. It was an addition, so much so that I started craving for it from time to time in Singapore.

In July this year, a company incentive trip took me back to Taiwan. Before the plane even left Singapore Changi Airport, I vowed to myself that I would eat it EVERY SINGLE NIGHT without fail. That was how serious I was at my affair with this delicacy! I had to savour the taste and preserve the moments because I knew I would not be going back to Taiwan anytime soon.

Contented with stinky tofu
Contented, can you tell?

Different types of Stinky Tofu

Stinky tofu, is not just stinky tofu. When you are a fan, you will delve deep into trying the different variations of stinky tofu!

Here are some of the different kinds that they were made into.

  • Fried

Fried stinky tofu

  • Grilled

Grilled stinky tofu

  • Cooked stinky tofu in spicy soup (麻辣臭豆腐)

How to eat stinky tofu?

The best way to eat is to put on a little preserved vegetable. Somehow, with the preserved vegetables, it created 2 entire different yet complementary taste to each other.

It would make the stinky tofu taste better if you are afraid of just biting purely tasting it.

Where should I start?

If you are overwhelmed with the different varieties of the product and you are not sure which type should you start with. Here is a little advise for you.

I highly recommend for you to start with the fried ones as they are less smelly (in my opinion). With the skin fried to crispiness, it makes you feel like you are just eating any other deep fried food.

One thing to note is that, make sure you have cooled it down enough before putting it in your mouth to start chewing. You would not want to burn your mouth with this, trust me. 😉

Who is this Asian delicacy for?

Let’s face  it. It is not a food for everyone. Very similar to durians, you need an acquired taste for it.

With my own observation, I have come to this conclusion. If you love durians, you will have a higher probably to accept the “odour” of stinky tofu.

Have you tried stinky tofu before? Are you game enough to try? Be adventurous! Share with me on the comment below!

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Pamela Loh

Pamela, born and raised in Singapore. She is a dreamer, explorer, traveller and local tour guide.

A perfect day for Pam would be being on the road, having beers and endless of great conversations that shape a wider perspective.

Come say hi!

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