OK, so I don’t really like stinky tofu and judging by his face (especially animated for the camera), Ben doesn’t either. But for me, stinky tofu is a pleasant (and smelly) trip down memory lane. It wasn’t that long ago that I lived in Hong Kong but I have fond memories of trying it for the first time with my mother when she visited. She grew up in Hong Kong and associates the snack with her youth. So it was both adorable and horrifying when my mother suddenly stopped in her tracks as we were walking around the city. Like a puppy who had just caught wind of a steak, she stuck her nose in the air and furrowed her brow with great concentration. We had just been hit in the face with the stench of hot garbage mixed with fish sauce.
“STINKY TOFU!” she cried excitedly and she was off, leaving her only child behind. Her little feet quickly maneuvering through the crowded streets of Mong Kok, eyes darting around for the coveted greasy squares. Finally, she spotted a stall, the one with the largest crowd around it. She didn’t even ask if I, a few yards back, wanted some, she dutifully handed her money over, doused the tofu in hot sauce and messily ate her cubes with glee.
When I think of stinky tofu, I think of those few minutes in which I witnessed my mother’s childlike excitement. I don’t first think of the smelliness, nor do I consider the anti-climatic taste of it (far less offensive then the smell). I think of my mom and the joy she gets from biting into a hot cube of fermented tofu.
Question: Have you ever tried stinky tofu? What did you think of it?
(I wish I had a photo of my mom instead weirdo Ben, but that photo is pretty great, eh?)