Why Does Stinky Tofu Smell Bad but Taste Good?

Choudoufu or stinky tofu is a Chinese delicacy made from fermented tofu.

By Cookist

As its name suggests, it has a pungent odor, but even though it smells bad, stinky tofu is a delicious, nutritious ingredient with plenty of protein. Most types of stinky tofu are vegan, however, there are some which are fermented in shrimp brine, which is not suitable for those on a plant-based diet. Stinky tofu has its origins in the Anhui Province of China. It's often enjoyed as street food in Hong Kong and is prepared in different ways all across China. If you're feeling adventurous, stinky tofu is definitely worth trying! Here's everything you need to know about stinky tofu.

What Does Stinky Tofu Taste Like?


Stinky tofu is a little sweet, a little sour, with a salty, savory flavor. Despite its pungent aroma, stinky tofu has a fairly mild flavor that some people liken to aged soft cheese. The exact taste will depend on how it's cooked and the type of brine used to make the tofu. It has a creamy texture and is often fried so the outside is crispy.

How to Cook Stinky Tofu

The most popular way to eat stinky tofu is to deep fry it or marinate it, then grill it. Heat 2-inches of oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the tofu, working in batches if necessary. Cook the tofu until it turns a deep golden brown, then remove with a slotted spoon to drain on a paper towel. Garnish with chili flakes and chopped cilantro and serve with soy sauce or chili sauce. To reduce the smell before cooking, you can rinse the tofu under cold water and pat it dry before frying it. You can also marinate in your preferred marinade and grill it over high heat. Once cooked, stinky tofu will have a mild flavor and creamy on the inside, crispy on the outside texture.

How to Serve Stinky Tofu

There are many ways to enjoy stinky tofu. It can be served hot or cold. Stinky tofu is usually deep-fried and eaten as a snack or side dish and served with a side of chili sauce or soy sauce. It can be added to soups, eaten in sandwiches, served over rice, or added to a stir-fry.

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