Stinky Tofu: A Bold and Unique Culinary Adventure

Dish recipes: Stinky Tofu
Photo from

Stinky Tofu, known for its pungent aroma and robust flavor, is a beloved street food delicacy in many Asian countries, particularly Taiwan. While its scent might be an acquired taste, the bold and unforgettable taste of Stinky Tofu has won over countless food enthusiasts. In this article, we'll delve into the world of Stinky Tofu, providing an authentic recipe and insights into its cultural significance.

What is Stinky Tofu?

Stinky Tofu, also known as Chou Doufu, is a fermented tofu dish. It's made by marinating fresh tofu in a mixture of brine, milk, vegetables, and meat for several months. This fermentation process is what gives Stinky Tofu its distinctive odor. Don't let the smell deter you, as the taste is entirely different and incredibly delicious.


For the Tofu:

1 block of fresh tofu (firm or extra firm)

For the Marinade:

1 cup water

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar

1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small piece of ginger, minced

1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (adjust to taste)

Salt, to taste

For the Side Sauce (Optional):

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

Chili sauce, to taste


1. Preparing the Tofu:

Cut the tofu block into bite-sized cubes or rectangular pieces, depending on your preference.

2. Preparing the Marinade:

In a mixing bowl, combine water, soy sauce, Chinese black vinegar, Chinese five-spice powder, sesame oil, minced garlic, minced ginger, chili flakes, and a pinch of salt. Mix well.

3. Marinating the Tofu:

Place the tofu pieces in a shallow dish or container.

Pour the marinade over the tofu, ensuring all pieces are submerged. Cover the container and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, allowing the tofu to absorb the flavors.

4. Cooking the Stinky Tofu:

There are several ways to cook Stinky Tofu. The most common methods are deep-frying and pan-frying.

Deep-frying: Heat a pot of oil to 350°F (175°C). Carefully drop the marinated tofu pieces into the hot oil and fry until they turn golden brown and crispy, approximately 3-4 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Pan-frying: Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add a bit of oil, then place the marinated tofu pieces in the pan. Cook until they are browned and crispy on all sides.

5. Serving Stinky Tofu:

Stinky Tofu is typically served with a side sauce. To prepare the sauce, mix soy sauce, Chinese black vinegar, minced garlic, and chili sauce (if desired) in a small bowl.

Serve the crispy Stinky Tofu hot, with the dipping sauce on the side.

The Stinky Tofu Experience:

Stinky Tofu is an acquired taste, and while its aroma might be strong, the flavor is rich, savory, and utterly addictive. In Taiwan and many other Asian countries, it's often enjoyed as a popular street food snack.

Venture into the world of Stinky Tofu, and you'll discover a unique culinary adventure that's both unforgettable and delicious. Whether you're trying it for the first time or are already a fan, making Stinky Tofu at home is an exciting way to experience this iconic Asian dish.