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.

View hungry in taipei restaurants in a larger map


BeefNoGuy said...

For the most part, most street vendors that offer the same thing, differ even ever so slightly, as each chef tries to create their own receipe to be unique (mostly as a result of competition).

Even the most mediocre or average random food stall outsmokes most places in California. Looking forward to my Taipei trip next month!

Anonymous said...

This is something I would eat but Durian no way. I try that but there something of that smell like gasoline turn me off. One time a worker brought some durian to work and all people thought it was some gas leak left the building.

Rule now no durian allowed in office. I like Ham Haw Jam( shirmp paste) so that one dish I would eat.


m3ng said...

I miss the amazing street food in Taiwan so much! Your photos and descriptions are perfect, and that dish does look delicious! I've never had the same Cho Do Fu from different vendors, in some ways it's an adventure to try new vendors and their various styles of the dish, and like hitting gold when you find one like the one you've found here!

brian said...

i wish i could get excited by looking at that. well, actually, i'm lying. it does get me excited...excited to try chou doufu again. i've tried a bunch of times, and i just can't enjoy it. though i'm ready for the next round!

JC said...

Hello! I'm going to Taipei for the new year countdown and am glad to have found your blog. Will spend time to read what/where to eat! :D

.. but.. don't think I'll be brave enuf for stinky tofu :p

joanh said...

beefnoguy: yes, more often than not street food is good rather than bad. but some are the kind that you'd go back for again and again.

anonymous: hi James! ME TOO! I definitely would NOT eat durian. i guess some people's stinky tofu is my durian.

m3ng: thanks! i always passed by this row of vendors and never tried it... i'm glad i ended up trying it.

brian: i wasn't crazy about it when i first moved back but it grows on you and you learn to appreciate the good from the bad. :)

JC: thanks for commenting! hope you find some good recs and leave comments on the places you end up trying :)

Anonymous said...


Virginia said...

I actually work about 30 seconds walking from that stall. My coworker loves their stinky tofu, me, not so much. Actually, any kind of stinky tofu freaks me out, never have been able to stand the smell. In the mornings, there is a guy selling porridge off his truck. The porridge is cheap and very good in case you are ever in the area.

Unknown said...

i live very close to this street and i also have to say there is something special about this stinky tofu. it's great. i don't like the smell at all but something always draws me into buying some from them. yum!

joanh said...

anonymous: thanks for the link

virginia: mmm, porridge. thanks for commenting!

stephanie: i'm glad it's not just me. thanks so much for commenting!

viagra online said...

I love eat in those places because the food are so natural and delicious and we can see how they cooked the food.

Anonymous said...

cho do fu is what I mainly look forward to eating when I visit from Australia - last time we went to I think your recommendation off Roosevelt Rd, so thanks - and Si Lin night market is also good.

Can't buy it in Oz that I know - a pretend one started, but they said they weren't allowed to sell the real thing ! So I have to wait till I get to Taipei ...