In Taiwan there are many sights and smells, however there is none like the smell of stinky tofu. It is like a fine bloomy cheese, the smell will straight up kick your ass. It will seep into every pore and the smell will linger in your mouth for the rest of the day. Heck, I had moments the next morning when i burped and I would still taste it. Yet, I will take the chance of smelling like a pair of old sweaty socks and suck it up, like a true fan and order some stinky tofu. What is stinky tofu? Basically, it is tofu that has been fermented and through the magic of fermentation, it gives it a offputting odor to say the least.
One of my favorite stinky tofu vendors is this one on Tainan. You can literally be like Toucan Sam and "follow your nose" to the tofu and with a industrial fan connected to this cart, the smell is just intense. Most vendors rock masks but as you can see, these people mean business, no masks for them and these folks just sell the tofu, that is it.
Stinky tofu is generally fried which not only makes it tasty, I mean, anything fried is good but it also deodorizes the tofu a bit. The tofu is served with a bunch of pickled cabbage on top and hot sauce on the side. Quick tip, Hot sauce is needed and should be abused.
So the question is how does it taste? Texturally, fried tofu is great, it has a great crispy exterior and the tofu is still firm yet yielding. The flavor? It sharp, sour and almost meaty yet the smell does not match its bite. It almost tastes pickled and the mixture of sour sweet pickled cabbage and hot sauce is additive. Surprisingly, it did not really have much of a sulfuric taste to it at all, at least at this vendor which good stinky tofu should not have. For first time eaters, fried stinky tofu should be the way to go and this is a great street snack and after drinking food. Fried and it being tofu, it just soaks up all that alcohol, it was made for an after drinking treat. This is the only food I think that me and vegans can get behind and I am okay with that. Oh and tangent, if you ever decide to become a vegetarian or vegan, Taiwan is the place to go, where they actually have great tasting vegetable dishes that actually taste good.
|Exhaust fan to waft its magical scent|