Monday, November 02, 2009
street eat/taiwanese: i strongly recommend STINKY TOFU VENDOR
Stinky Tofu and Squid Potage Street Vendor
Lane 181, Zhong Xiao E Road, Sec 4
(north of the alley next to Ding Kua Kua, two blocks east of Dun Hua N Road/Zhong Xiao intersection)
MRT stop: Zhong Xiao/Dun Hua
Kid friendliness: outdoor table and stools to sit at, but in busy lane with cars
Visit reviewed: 10/14/2009
One of the best things about Taipei is that if you're hungry, you can find almost anything, even on the street. In fact, some of the stuff is found along a busy alley, with no address, no phone number. Of course, that makes it telling a friend where to find it even harder. While some people don't want to risk their stomachs for unknown factors, I think it's not any more scary than the hole-in-the-wall.
During a recent lunch with the girlfriends, my friend V and I left a little hungry. When we passed by the sign, we decided to split a bowl of squid vermicelli potage and a small plate of stinky tofu, each for NT$55 (about US$2). Forget eating here for US$40 a day, if you love street eats, you could do it for US$10.
They fried the chou dofu tofu to order and put some pickled cabbage and sauce atop, and topped the you yu geng squid potage with a generous bunch of cilantro.
For some people, the smell of stinky tofu is so strong that they can't even brave a bite. For others, it's a nostalgic memory of Taiwan. For me, I enjoy the crunchy crispiness of the skin when fried just right married with the sourness of the pickled cabbage and spiciness of the chili sauce so much that I don't even mind the distinctive smell.
It was heavenly.
A lot more satisfying than our expensive lunch- it was crispy, soupy and perfect mix of contrasting textures and pungent flavors for a rainy afternoon. It didn't matter that we were sitting on plastic stools with scooters zooming dangerously by. It was the kind of meal that would be tough to replicate in any other city in the world. You'd have to drive an hour away to eat in LA and it probably wouldn't even be half as good and three times as expensive.
It's one meal that makes you happy that you're hungry in Taipei.
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