“Smelly tofu,” deep-fried fermented bean curd, is a pungent, unforgettable snack . When you splash on some chili and soy sauce, it’s heaven. However, it stinks and fills your nostrils from a block away and only the hardiest of souls would follow the scent to its source.
For first time visitors the odor could be overpowering. The dish is served from a huge selection of street food vendors, hawkers and small restaurants, and if you’re truly unlucky, from the gifted chef inside the flat next door. It’s very much an eat on the stick dish.
What’s Stinky Tofu?
Traditionally, it is bean curd that is fermented in a mix of fermented milk along with a veg, meat and fish based brine, or some combination of the three. For genuinely smelly tofu the brine needs to be months if not months old.
In fact, business concerns means where it’s commonly sold the hawker stands are furnished industrial plant created stinky tofu which has only been soaked in a brine which is only a few times old.
How Is Stinky Tofu Served?
The manner of cooking and serving differs by region and nation. In Hong-Kong, Shanghai, Taiwan and Chinatown’s all over the world it’s generally deep fried in vegetable oil and served with a selection of sauces; such as chilli and soybean. Other regional variations comprise steamed or stewed stinky tofu, occasionally served as part of a bigger chief dish or in a soup.
Deep fried stinky tofu could be the quintessential smell and flavor experience, if you prefer to attempt. It’ll generally be served in little blocks skewered together and placed on a plastic plate, sometimes with pickled dropped on top.
Can It Be Really Stinky?
Oh, yes, it totally stinks. Stinky Tofu is well-known in Hong Kong, China, especially Shanghai, and Taiwan and once you walk along an avenue where it is being sold the smell will hit you promptly. Various critics and epicures have attempted to capture the scent in words, like ‘old socks’, ‘gone off blue cheese’ and – fairly simply -‘rotting garbage’. It’s very strong and won’t have you ever licking your lips.
Even those that appreciate the flavour confess the scent is actually awful and the draw is in the flavor. There’s also a general agreement amongst enthusiasts that the smellier the bean curd, the tastier. Many tofu sellers acquire a repute for producing the smelliest tofu.
How Does This Taste?
Thankfully, the flavor is much less pungent in relation to the smell, although few newcomers is going to be keeping out their hand for another helping. These days, the flavor can really be a little bland, as a result of brief fermentation process, but either way you’ll need a substantial squirt of sauce; to give some flavour or hide any powerful fermentation.
Like several Cantonese dishes, the texture is essential and biting into stinky tofu is similar to biting in to gentle cheese. It will be golden and crispy on the outside from the deep frying and soft on the inside. It will be dripping in grease and really, very hot about the inner. Once the bean curd has been deep fried, the scent is a little less eye watering.
In what place May I Strive Stinky Tofu?
Most stinky tofu is sold from open air hawker booths. One popular location is late-night markets, for example Temple Street in Hong-Kong.