My first Charcutepalooza post was about how my culinary curiosity brought me to butchery and this blog. This post is about how that same desire for food adventure led me to taste the most offensive piece of food I have ever had near my mouth.
Last weekend at Bob’s Noodle 66 in Maryland, I ate stinky tofu in the Taiwanese style. Wikipedia says “stinky tofu (chòu dòufu) is a form of fermented tofu that has a strong odor,” which ranks in understatement with “This Hitler fellow seems a bit ill-tempered.”
I don’t mean to denigrate the great cultures of the East, but stinky tofu is madness. This never had to happen, to Asians or me. I couldn’t find the origin, but I’m just at a loss as to why the first local fermenteur who put this food near his nose or mouth went through with eating it – and then made an industry out of it. If only I’d have showed up to my fiance’s work dinner just a few minutes later (we were already 15 minutes late), i might have been able to avoid it to0.
But I didn’t. After hearing all about the horror from everyone around the table, a friend piped up and said, “Hey, there’s a little piece left on my plate.” And that’s how it happened. I split it with the guy next to me. After sniffing it, which was a terrible idea, I put it in my mouth. Within a split second of the tofu making contact with my tongue, i expunged. The lingering foul taste and the stench of shame stayed with me for days. I’ve thought a great deal about how to explain it, but I simply can’t do it justice. I’ve tried. Tasted like a sweatsock filled with old pickled eggs. Like rotten fish wrapped in used gauze. Still doesn’t do it justice. I’ll leave the explaining to Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods:
I included a picture below of the stinky tofu. Three points to make: 1. It is sitting on top of a wafter thin pig’s ear, which was weird and gelatinous but edible…almost good for another blog post. 2. Pretty plate design, eh? 3. The blurriness of the tofu in the photo – that little piece of tofu – is the only defense I have against a vomitous rush of memories. Please don’t think ill of me.