Thursday, June 26, 2008

Smelly Tofu

We were all seated in the restaurant in Taipei, Taiwan. There were quite a number of us, and one of our new friends who introduced us the restaurant ordered the food.

At first she asked us what had we wanted. Not knowing much of Taiwan food, we just said that anything is fine.

The food came and we were all eating - the food were quite delicious. Then, somehow, the conversation steered to smelly tofu.

"Do they serve smelly tofu?" my friend asks?
"You want? I didn't dare order..." our new friend mentions.
"Yes, yes, had it last time - very good!"
"Oh, wow... wow, you know how to eat smelly tofu? Ok, ok, I'll order" (big smile).

So, off did she ordered for us the smelly tofu.

I didn't know what to expect. I've never tried it before and though I might have seen it before, but not upclose - and definitely I didn't remember the smell!

Really So Smelly!
So, it came... yes, the smelly tofu was served! It was steam smelly tofu and from afar (it was a big round table), I could get the smell/ odor of it.

smelly tofu - steamed
Steamed smelly tofu - wish can let you smell it :)

No offence to any Taiwanese, but it smelled like from the drain. It really smelled stinky!

Anyway, adventurous as I am, I gave it a try - and managed to swallow a small spoon of it. Afterall, our Taiwanese friends mentioned that it tastes very different from the smell - and showing me the thumbs up!

I really couldn't take it. But I managed to gulped that down. And my friend who ordered it gave it a pass though did try to eat it!

Our Taiwanese friends were laughing all the way. For us, we didn't dare want to turn the smelly tofu back to us (it was a round table). Our friends kept saying what a waste that we didn't know how to savour such a delicious dish... and they ate the plate clean!

Not So Smelly Version
Then, a few days later, I encountered the street stall selling - what else, smelly tofu. This time round, the tofu was cooked differently - it was fried. Our friend mentioned that this could be better as the smell is less strong.

smelly tofu - deep-fried

Again, being adventurous, I went to purchase a packet of them. My reasoning - I'm here in Taiwan, and must try their 'national food'. And if the fried ones are just as smelly, I could always pass them to my Taiwanese friends who would be ready to finish them.

smelly tofu - deep fried, stall

This set of deep fried smelly tofu came rather different as they are served with pickles. That helps reduce the smell. Also, it being deep fried, it wasn't that smelly. I could stand so close to the cart without running away! haha.

And I managed to eat a few of them. Actually, I could eat all the fried smelly tofu, but I know that my Taiwanese friends love it and shared it with them. Though I still don't know the craze behind these fermented tofu.

Popular Dish
Btw, smelly tofu is really one of Taiwan's famous dish. It is so apparent everywhere from high end restaurants and can be seen as a street food in many push carts or vendors - selling both in the day & night. And they are usually crowded! There definitely is some special tofu recipes in them to draw such crowds!

smelly tofu - deep fried stall
Another vendor selling smelly tofu

My suggestion if you are in Taiwan: try the deep fried ones first before going for the steamed ones. But who knows, you may fall in love with them - it really is an acquired taste just like the other 'smelly' food that we all love! :)

Food & more food coming up next!


  1. their version is more like moldiness....anyways, i like the ones they have in hong kong with hot sauce. that's my personal favorite.

  2. Yikes...imagine smelling that all the time!! Just smell the drain is enough to know :-p yii, should have told me you're going Taiwan, ask you get me something!! Hehe~

  3. Does it tastes as bad as it smells? Like some people can't stand smells of durian, but like the taste.

  4. You are right to say it smell like the drain. I remember when I was in Hong Kong and I wanted to try their smelly toufu, before I could approached the store make a order I could smell pungent drain smell and immediately I make a U turn.

  5. I am not sure the Malaysian version is the same like the Taiwanese ones. But the smell is just as unbearable.

    You are so brave haha the smell makes me want to run away

  6. It's not smelly! :P Really, it isn't! And it tastes great! :)

  7. dalicia
    ya read bout hong kong smelly tofu as well, but have yet to try. will do so when i go there haha

    i guess it becomes kinda nice for the taiwanese - its really like a national dish lol :)

    i guess each has their own preference. and some may get used to it 2nd or 3rd time round haha - yes, just like the durians or even some say the penang laksa! :)

    haha, that is funny :)

    well as it wasnt an alive food, and its just tofu, i dare try haha.

    nice to know you are a fan :) which one is yr fav - the steamed or fried one?


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