Friday, February 3, 2012

臭豆腐 Stinky Tofu

My second favorite place to eat in China
I have recently found a number of travel blogs that I really enjoy.  There seem to be so many that have great photos and wonderful stories.  I really admire these bloggers not only for their writing and their photos but also their lifestyle (traveling, photography and writing).  Many have quit their jobs and taken off alone or with a companion to travel the world and blog.  I may someday quit my job to travel and take pictures but blogging looks like hard work.  I have a lot to learn, which is part of the reason I started this blog.  This post has been inspired by a couple of posts I have read this week.  First I saw a video of Beer Fish being cooked in Yangshuo by Runaway Juno.  I have had beer fish in Yangshuo with a group of Chinese women from Guangdong who let me tag along with them around Xingping and the Li Jiang river.  Then I read about unbrave girl eating stinky tofu (chou duofu) at the Shihlin night market in Taipei.  Stinky tofu or "chou duofu" in Chinese, is my favorite food period.  It is the only food I dream about (while sleeping).  I have many stinky tofu stories and pictures but I will only share a few on this post.  And I will post my first video.  I like to show this photo to picky eaters and tell them this is my second favorite place to eat in China.  While working in Dongguan I kept asking everyone if they knew where I could get some stinky tofu.  All the manager types told they didn't think there was any place around that sold it.  A driver at the company overheard me asking someone and he told us that he knew of a place near his house that sold it.  Every night after that I when to this place to eat usually as a snack before dinner or for dessert afterwards.  There was always a group that went with me from the company but no one else would try it.  Too bad it was delicious!  

One weekend while in Dongguan I went to Zhaoqing with a few Chinese coworkers.  Walking around in the evening I was happy to find a stinky tofu vendor and ordered some.  A small crowd soon began to gather probably to see the foreigner but many were asking what the vendor was selling.  They didn't know what it was.  After a few had asked, I announced to the crowd that I would buy stinky tofu for everyone who wanted to try it.  Only these four girls took me up on this but they were there to get some anyways.  I ordered two helpings for myself.  I paid the vendor for mine and the four servings for these girls and I gave her a 100% tip (tipping is not customary in China and she tried to refuse the tip but I insisted telling her this stinky tofu was  some of the best I had ever had).  It cost me a total of $1.47 USD.  This is my favorite place to eat in China.  The next afternoon I went back the to corner where this vendor was just before catching the bus back to Dongguan.  I was so happy to see her with her cart selling stinky tofu, I thought it would be too early.  I took this video of her preparing my favorite dish.  It was the first time I had it served with minced garlic piled on top. Some kind of hot sauce is standard everywhere.  On the bus ride back my Chinese friends were laughing at me for eating the stinky tofu.  They told me I didn't know what was in it and if I did I wouldn't eat it.  I asked them to tell me what was in it that was so bad.  They asked me if I knew what that black stuff on it was.  I replied "It's mold."  Their jaws dropped in amazement.  "You knew that and still ate it?"  Yep!  

Sorry about the poor quality of the video.  It was taken in 2004 with a point and shoot camera.  It was something simple that I could use to post my first video on my blog.  


  1. Hey Ross,
    Thanks for mentioning my post in your post! And, wow, you REALLY like stinky tofu, huh? I liked it when I tried it but I certainly can't say I dream about the stuff. And I'm surprised it took you so long to find a place that sells it. There are quite a few vendors in my little neighborhood. Maybe it's a regional preference?
    Keep up the blogging. It definitely gets a bit easier the longer you do it. I think. (But there are some days when it does still seem a bit hard.) Good luck!

  2. Hi Sally,
    Thanks for the blogging encouragement. I have really enjoyed reading your blog. I think many Chinese don't tell me where the stinky tofu is even when they know. I am not sure why. One person initially told me that there wasn't anywhere in the city that served it. Then an hour later the same person told me there was a place right around the conner that sold it. It took less than a minute to walk there. Can't believe I didn't smell it first.