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Stinky Beancurd

Know by a variety of names, but only one smell, the order of Stinky Tofu is to be found especially pure in some of the shops inside Shilin Night Market.

Like a "blue cheese" in European food the Smelly Tofu ( 臭豆腐 ) is a traditional Chinese dish, prepared from fermented and marinated bean curd which has therefore a strong smell and taste. The dish is popular throughout Chinese culture but is a specialty of Shilin Night Market.  Served as a cheap snack from food stalls, or as a refined dish in Smelly Tofu restaurants it is truly something unique.

Unusually served with chili sauce or pickles the tofu is normally cut into cubes and fried or braised. Making the raw ingredient is a specialized skill and takes months to get the best taste and smell. Modern production methods have made it faster, but the finest stinky beancurd, like the finest wines and cheeses, still takes time.

There is a legend about the origin of this strong smelling snack, apparently it was invited in the 17th Century after an accident by a man named Wang Zhihe. Living in the then capital of China in Beijing he had failed his civil service examinations, and was making a living as a beancurd maker.  One day he had too much stock and tried to preserve it with salt, however after several days it smelled bad. But as it looked ok he tasted it and found it was even more wonderful.  Therefore he started to sell it and Stinky Beancurd was Born.

Don't worry if you can't manage to eat it, even some Chinese find difficulty with it, and there are many other snacks to try in the market. But if you feel adventurous then it really shouldn't be missed!


Stinky Beancurd

The food specialty of the market is without doubt the Stinky Beancurd! A type of fermented bean curd it has a strong smell, like a "blue cheese", which tells those who appreciate it that wonderful flavors are coming to the mouth soon.

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