Along with beef noodles, stinky tofu is one of those dishes that nearly defines Taiwanese street food. So it's not surprising there's an entire street devoted to this blue cheese (or stinky socks) of tofu and all its varieties: braised, barbecued, steamed, skewered, stewed and deep-fried stinky tofu.
Shenkeng Old Street (老街) is in the town of Shenkeng (深坑), about a 10-minute drive east from the Taipei Zoo. A prominent market and administrative area during the Japanese era, the street's handsome arcades and Western-style mansions were restored in 2012. Even if you have no interest in tofu, the historic blocks are pleasant to stroll along and open to beautiful mountain views in the back. There are plenty of other dishes to sample as well.
Varieties of stinky tofu to try include the following:
- Original recipe barbecued skewers (原味口味; yuánwèi kǒuwèi). There is a pleasing contrast between the nutty smooth centre and the spongy outer skin.
- Stewed stinky tofu with spicy duck's blood (鴨血臭豆腐; yā xuè chòu dòufu) or braised tofu (紅燒豆腐; hóngshāo dòufu) in a light broth. Both are pleasantly stinky and offer interesting contrasts in texture – the creamy braised tofu yields in the mouth like a ripe peach.
- Tofu in an oily, spicy sauce (麻辣豆腐; málà dòufu). The tofu here looks like a baked abode brick and is topped with pickled mustard leaves and red chillies.
Finally, to top off the feast, head to the end of the street for a cone or bowl of soft tofu ice cream (it's not stinky).
Getting There & Away
At Muzha MRT station take Bus 660 (NT$15) and get off at the head of the old street near a large spreading banyan tree. A taxi from the station (or from Taipei Zoo) will cost less than NT$200.