Types of Stinky Tofu (Taiwan & Changsha Smelly Tofu)

Types of Stinky Tofu (Smelly Tofu)

Taiwan Smelly Tofu
Taiwan Smelly Tofu
  • NOTE: This is a sub-article about Stinky Tofu that only describes the kinds of tofu. For full description and history of stinky tofu see the link below: 
  • All about Stinky Tofu

There are different varieties of Smelly tofu, ranging from color, taste, texture and smell. Different areas in China have different ways of preparing the snack and that gives it the distinctive flavor, color and taste.

Changsha Stinky Tofu (Changsha Chou Doufu)

The stinky tofu in Changsha (Hunan Province) is one of the famous brands in China. It is locally referred to as Changsha Chou Doufu (臭豆腐-Chòu dòufu) but some of the natives also call it 臭杆子 (Chòu gānzi).

The color of the smelly tofu in Changsha is dark and it is notoriously known for its strong smell compared to other kinds of tofu in other provinces. One significant thing about it is that, the snack is mostly served with hot pepper. Hunan people are known for their strong love for spicy foods.

Unlike other tofu-s from other parts of China, those in Changsha are not crispy. It is usually dipped in pepper soup (if you want it that way) and that makes it soft.

It is said that when Chairman Mao was a student in Changsha during his youthful years, the Changsha stinky tofu was his favorite snack. According to locals, one famous saying he made about the snack is that; “It smells stinky but tastes good (fragrant).”

Types of Stinky Tofu- Changsha Chou Doufu
Changsha Chou Doufu

Taiwan Stinky tofu

The Stinky tofu in Taiwan is also known as the “blue cheese of tofu.” There are different varieties ranging from color, taste, texture and of course, the smell. Compared to Changsha tofu which is deep fried, those in Taiwan can be served steamed, braised, deep fried or barbecued.

The color is also different. The deep fried tofu looks golden and tastes crispy. It is mostly served with pickled cabbage, bamboo shoots or salty sauce. Its odor is strong enough to stage an assault on the nose.

Shenkeng Laojie (Shenkeng Old Street) in the Shenkeng town at the east of Taipei is well-known for selling varieties of authentic Taiwan tofu.

Taiwan smelly tofu
Taiwan smelly tofu is golden and crispy

Other types of Stinky Tofu

Nanjing tofu is divided into two types; soft and dry. The soft tofu is golden brown in color when fried and best served with chili sauce, garlic sesame, ginger, parsley or onion. It is crispy and smells good (but still holds on to the smelly title) compared to the dry type.

The dry type takes a bit longer to fry and it is characterized by little bubbles when ready. Unlike the soft type which is golden brown, the dry type is dark in color and comes with enticing stinky smell. It is crispy and nutty.

Beijing and Shanghai stinky tofu is generally crispy, golden brown and less stinky. They can be served with sauce, pickled cabbage or other vegetables. Mostly, other varieties of smelly tofu from different parts of China are also available in Beijing.

changsha smelly tofu
The stinky tofu in Changsha is dark in color