Thursday, November 4, 2010

What is That Smell?

One of the most unique dishes I've ever experienced is stinky tofu. I'm pretty sure you can find it in several Asian countries but I'm told that it is traditionally a Taiwanese dish. It basically smells like feet, really really stinky feet. You can smell the stuff before even approaching a stand or restaurant.

Deep fried stinky tofu with sauce and pickle
The idea is that the tofu is fermented in a brine for several days or even several months. Each vendor has their own brine which is responsible for any flavor differences you might find. The brine is a pretty ugly sludge of vegetable, spices and herbs, and sometimes meat material. After the tofu is soaked for the required amount of time it is either steamed, stewed, or fried (my favorite kind). It is usually served with some sauce and some very vinegary cabbage pickle.