Stinky Tofu

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Chou dou fu.jpg

Stinky Tofu / Chou Dou Fu

Alternative names 臭豆腐
Pinyin chòu dòu fǔ
Type Stinky, Fragrant
Course Snack
Place of origin China
Region or state Hunan, China
Other cook time: 3 Months


Stinky Tofu (Simplified Chinese: 臭豆腐; Traditional Chinese: 臭豆腐; Pinyin: chòu dòu fǔ), a special snack with Chinese characteristics, the cooking method and edible method of which differs between different regions, for an instance, north China is different from south China. In south China, Stinky tofu is also called Strong smelling dried tofu. The name is boorish, but is intelligent without seeming so, is unique from ordinary with a long history, and is a traditional Chinese snack with extreme Chinese characteristics, ancient and traditional that is unable to stop even one wants to. The raw materials are soybean, fermented soybean and soda ash etc.


For Stinky tofu, different regions have different cooking method and edible method and the taste is also different with a same characteristic, smells bad but tasty. The strong smelling preserved soybean curd of Changsha is very famous.

In Chinese(Pronunciation)

Simplified Chinese: 臭豆腐;

Traditional Chinese: 臭豆腐;

Pinyin: chòu dòu fǔ


Calories (kcal) 132.00(Per 100 grams)

Carbohydrate (g) 3.90(Per 100 grams)

Fat (g) 7.90(Per 100 grams)

Protein (g) 11.60(Per 100 grams)

Cellulose (g) 0.80(Per 100 grams)

Vitamin A (microgram) 20.00(Per 100 grams)


Stinky Tofu (Chou Dou Fu) is estimated to be 271 kcal per 100 grams of calories.


Statement 1

It is stated that Hongwu Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang is raised from poverty. When he was young he was a beggar and a Buddha. Once he was too hungry to endure, he picked up the other’s littered tofu that is expired for a long time, and stirred it and filled it in the mouth. That flavor is fresh and tasty that imprints the bones and inscribes on the memory. Latterly, he served as a military general, a victory is after another and the troop arrived in Anhui. He ordered all the soldiers eat strong smelling preserved soybean curd together to celebrate the victory, and the reputation of stinky tofu spreads broadly.

Statement 2

Scholar He Rihua in Ming Dynasty ever recorded in the book that people in Yixian, Anhui province likes using salt to make tofu change color and get moldy, and stirs in oil after removing mold and cleaning it. This tofu has a taste of crocodile in the sea.


Strong smelling preserved soybean curd is divided into two categories, dried stinky tofu and stinky sufu, both of which are popular snacks. Through the stinky tofu is small in size, the process is very complicated. Generally it has several procedures, stirring, adding brine and fermenting. All the procedures are done in nature environment which is very strict with temperature and humidity.


Stinky tofu is rich with plant original lactobacillus which has a good manipulating effect to intestine tract. The product color is yellow, tender with a crisp crust, and fresh and spicy taste.


Mainland China

Stinky tofu is made and consumed in different ways in various areas of China. For example, the types of dried stinky tofu made in Changsha and Shaoxing are made using different methods, and the resulting flavors are very different. Huo Gong Dian (a stinky tofu shop in Changsha) makes the tofu with yellow soybeans marinated in seasoning. The stinky tofu sold in Tianjin is made mostly in the Nanjing style, with a mild aroma. In Shanghai, stinky tofu is fried and sold on the street, typically served with a spicy or sweet sauce much like the Shaoxing variety. It is also served as a condiment to congee, often as a part of a regular breakfast meal. In Chongqing, stinky tofu on the street is usually fried and dipped in a mixture of, typically, coriander (cilantro) leaves, scallions, chili powder, Sichuan pepper and oil. Stinky tofu is also sometimes dipped in Sichuan spicy hot pot. In Beijing, there is a form that is sold in jar as a curd.

In Anhui, the perceived deliciousness of stinky tofu depends mainly on its spiciness: the spicier it is, the more it suits the local favor. Chinese legend says that stinky tofu was invented by a man from Anhui province, and indeed it is common to attribute the creation of tofu dishes in general to Anhui cuisine, as Anhui is seen as the birthplace of tofu.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, stinky tofu is a street food. It is deep-fried fresh at hawkers' stalls and at dai pai dongs and sold by the bag. Hong Kong-style stinky tofu is traditionally eaten with hoisin sauce. Unlike the diversity of stinky tofu in Taiwan, in Hong Kong it is usually deep-fried. Rather than eating deep-fried stinky tofu with pickled vegetables, Hongkongers usually enjoy deep-fried stinky tofu with sweet sauce and chili sauce.


The strong smelling preserved soybean curd originates from mainland of China. An old soldier Li Mingchuan from Hunan province took it to Taiwan. Latterly, Taiwan people continuously improve this stinky tofu and gradually form current Taiwan stinky tofu, the surface of which is crisp and there are a lot of pores inside. It really smells bad both in and out, which is different with mainland north China. It smells bad but tastes not bad and inside is similar with non-fermented tender tofu for stinky tofu in north China.

Deep-fried stinky tofu

Deep fried stinky tofu is a common dish in both Taiwanese night markets and restaurants. Before the 1990s, hawkers even wandered around the street and peddled deep-fried stinky tofu. In Taiwan, people usually eat the deep-fried stinky tofu (often sold from carts) with the local sweet-and-sour pickled cabbage, believed to relieve the greasiness.

Spicy stinky tofu

Spicy stinky tofu is a new cooking method for stinky tofu in Taiwan. Because of the prevalence of spicy hot pot, Taiwanese people came up with a new idea of forming a rich-flavored spicy hot pot soup base by using stinky tofu, duck blood and Chinese sauerkraut as ingredients. This innovative cooking method of stinky tofu is now popular in Taiwanese culture.

Soft stinky tofu

Soft stinky tofu is commonly used as a condiment for rice, bread, congee or noodles. It can also be used as a seasoning for cooking.

Barbecued stinky tofu

Barbecued stinky tofu is a popular stinky tofu variety believed to be from Taipei's Shenkeng District, and is served in many of Taiwan's night markets. Cubes of stinky tofu are speared on a bamboo skewer are roasted over charcoal with roasted meat sauce. Because of the huge amount of seasonings, the unpleasant odor of barbecued stinky tofu is comparatively weaker. Therefore, barbecued stinky tofu is always recommended for people trying stinky tofu for the first time.

United States

Taiwanese-style stinky tofu can also be found in specialty restaurants in some parts of the United States.

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