The name itself should tell you exactly what this dish is all about – it’s stinky and it’s tofu. Found in many of the markets throughout Taiwan, Hong Kong and China, Stinky Tofu can be smelled before seen.
Prior to my trip to the moderately tropical island of Taiwan, I had been advised by another expat to give it a try. As I made my way through the Shinlin Night Market during our first night, I kept my eyes open for something that might look like the image I had in my head (tofu on a stick). Making my way through the people and the vendors, I was taken aback from a wretched scent of burnt, stinky feet and I wondered to myself, “is that what the girl was telling me about?” Needless to say, I didn’t venture further to look for the source of the smell, I ventured for some fresh air instead.
From Taipei, I made my way down the east coast by train to the city of Hualien (absolutely beautiful – if you ever get the chance to go to Taiwan, this is a must stop place) and from there, onto Kenting (southern surfing town) and still hadn’t tried this “stinky tofu”. At this point, I thought to myself that if I was mentally prepared to go into snake alley and drink snake blood on my arrival back to Taipei, I could handle a little bit of noxious tofu. But whenever I made my way through the streets of Taiwan and caught whiff of the smell I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Instead I stuck with noodles, duck, dumplings and even McDonald’s (I have an addiction!).
It wasn’t until my FINAL few hours in Taipei that I braised myself and tried it. I don’t really know how to explain the taste except to say that it “tastes like it smells.” To me, it wasn’t something I would eat again unless I really had to but to other expats, it’s amazing. For me, I think I will rather just stick to my noodles, duck, dumplings and McDonald’s next time.