Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Tofunky

One of the first foods I encountered on the streets of Taipei was stinky tofu (臭豆腐 cho dofu.) The Taiwanese love the smelly delicacy, which is basically tofu (bean curd) which has been fermented in a bath of vegetable brine for several months and then deep fried and served with chili sauce. You can smell the stinky tofu from down the street if a vendor is close, and it has a unique, powerfully pungent aroma that is unlike anything else I've smelled before. It tastes okay in my opinion, but the smell alone turns many people off.





I saw an interesting article on Google today wherein a stinky tofu vendor was actually fined by the government for the stench of his product.

The Taipei County Environmental Protection Bureau slapped the T$100,000 fine on the Kuang Tou Lao stinky tofu restaurant in Hsinchuang, a satellite city of Taipei, for reaching a stench level of 30, in an area where only a level 10 was permitted.

I'd like to have a look at this "stench level" scale and its various benchmarks. Is there a stenchometer? Do you know what the acceptable stench level in your hometown is? My guess is that Linko's is fairly high.

A lower court imposed the fine in April 2006 after receiving 16 complaints from neighbours who could not stand the odour, but restaurant owner Peng Tien-jung appealed the ruling. The Administrative High Court rejected Peng's appeal on Tuesday.

Peng protested the fine, saying for stinky tofu, the more "aromatic", the better quality. "Who wants to eat stinky tofu that does not stink?" he asked environment inspectors.


Indeed, who would eat just regular, non-stinky tofu?

Cable TV channel TVBS reported that Kuang Tou Lao is not the smelliest stinky tofu restaurant in Taipei. TVBS showed an unnamed stinky tofu vendor who rubs a type of smelly gravel onto the tofu to make it more pungent.

Cat litter?

All in all, it's good to see the authorities cracking down on smell pollution here in Taiwan. Now if only they would do something about the air pollution, water pollution, constant loud noises, other bad smells, and terrible traffic...

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