Thursday, January 29, 2009

Stinky Tofu

(Written 1/23/09)

On our second night in Taiwan, Nick and I were walking to our first night market when we encountered a smell that smacked us right in the face.

What the HELL is THAT!? We said to each other. It was a very distinct smell, we both guessed that it was a bad sewage problem, and I forgot about it. Then last night we went back to another night market and we smelled it again. By this time we'd done a lot of walking around the city and I realized that we only smell this smell during night markets. Nick had the revelation: its stinky tofu.

Stinky tofu is something that the Taiwanese are famous for. It's basically fermented tofu that is (as the name suggests) very stinky, and for some reason it is loved by all here. But I'm thinking this smell cannot be tofu. NO WAY do people eat something that smells like that. It must be garbage or sewage, or maybe people like to urinate in the alleys around night markets... I don't know what it is, but its definitely not edible.

(If Nancy had smelled it she would say something like "it smells like I ate bad meat, threw it up, my dog ate that, and pooped it out and let it sit for a couple of days”She always had a special way with words, haha)

So we walk through the night market and finally pick out some things to eat. First we picked out fried mushrooms: yummy. Then we found a little sushi place and we picked out about 6 pieces to go and continued walking along the market until we came across some tables to sit down and eat at. This area had a pretty strong odor (the odor), but we paid no mind and sat down to eat anyway.

Promptly we were told that we had to buy something from a particular booth in order to be allowed to sit at the table. So Nick went up to the counter and bought some fried tofu. I think he must have said something about it possibly being stinky tofu because I did smell it first to be safe and it smelled pretty benign to me. So, I ate it.

At first it was just kind of sour or a little off tasting, but as I ate it, it got worse. It didn't take me too long to realize that I was actually tasting that smell. It was so bad that I can actually taste it in my throat now as I write about it. And it was so bad that I had to (discreetly) spit it out.

I cannot believe that people eat this stuff!!!! It is literally one of the most vial smells I have ever encountered in my entire life... And I ate it!

Well, at least I can say I've been there, done that... and I won't be doing it again. Ever!!

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