Eating stinky tofu in Hong Kong

eating stinky tofu

Stinky tofu is one of the great gastronomical items that Hong Kong does very well. It’s available from most street vendors and you just have to follow your nose to find this wicked delight.

hong kong street vendor

The smelly tofu in Hong Kong is astonishingly odoriferous. It smells really, really bad. It made me wince the first time I had it. The pungent stench is quite intense.

smelly tofu

This is what the innocent stinky tofu (called chao dau foo) looks like before it’s deep fried. Smelly tofu is basically marinated and fermented tofu, which produces the signature smell. I remember an old HK movie where a Caucasian complains about the smell, tries it and then becomes an ambassador of sorts, loudly proclaiming “This smells really bad but it tastes wonderful”.

stinky tofu hong kong

That was exactly how I felt. I’m not a big fan of tofu but I was eager to try stinky tofu in Hong Kong. I had it twice at two different street vendors. It’s usually eaten with long wood skewers straight from a paper bag. The smelly tofu costs around HKD 9 (RM 4) for two pieces and you can opt to have spicy hoisin sauce on it.

stinky tofu

Stinky tofu has a crumbly crust that smells strongly of ammonia. The odor is palpable – it smells like a public toilet that has not been cleaned for months! The intense aroma is matched by the equally breathtaking taste. Smelly tofu tastes like someone dusted the tofu pieces with dried urine.

It also makes for very messy eating as the entire thing is so greasy it dripped everywhere. However, the experience is very rewarding. Stinky tofu tastes like nothing else in the world. You can smell/taste the ammonia as you chew it and the crust is quite salty. It’s crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and best eaten piping hot on the street.

eating smelly tofu

You’ll have really bad breath for the rest of the day but it’s worth it! smirk

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18 thoughts on “Eating stinky tofu in Hong Kong

    • Haha! Well, the stinky tofu in Hong Kong smells REALLY strong.

      It’s quite impressive actually, the ammonia odor stays on your breath for a very long time…

      …but it’s delicious! Great stuff. I don’t even like tofu but I like the strong tasting stinky tofu.

      This stall was a tad too salty though. :)

    • I’ve had stinky tofu once in Malaysia, but it was a very poor imitation of the real thing. I don’t think it’s anywhere close to what I had in Hong Kong.

      Yeah, it’s pretty good stuff eh Fiona? :)

      I haven’t tried China’s version, would love to. I’ve been to Guilin but their signature local dish is horse meat rice vermicelli. I also had a lot of Li River beer fish etc and I didn’t see any stinky tofu around. Alas. :x

    • Hello Michelle! :)

      I just came back from Hong Kong. I was there for a vacation, bought the tickets earlier this year. This is at Tsim Tsa Tsui.

      I don’t know where exactly it was but I know it’s very near the East Tsim Tsa Tsui MTR Station.

      We were just walking around Kowloon, got off at Yau Ma Tei MTR Station and started walking from there. :D

  1. I love durians and I don’t think it’s stinky at all but this stinky Tofu is really stinky to the max. It smelled so bad,it just spoils my appetite. Kudos for trying it!

    • Haha! Yeah, it smells really horrible eh, Eiling?

      I was astounded by the intense odor when I first ordered it too.

      However, it tastes really delicious. :)

  2. HB, stinky tofu is more well known in Taiwan which is when I am in Taipei head out to get some from the food stalls at night market. They have many different type of stinky tofu there. In Hong Kong I like the most is Sampan jook is where is was created. Everybody love the cocktai bun that got started in Hong Kong also.

    But when I back in Hong Kong will head out to try some made in Hong Kong this time.

    • Mmm…I haven’t tried the ones in Taiwan, it sounds very promising! :)

      Oh yeah, the porridge in Hong Kong is really famous, they make it so it’s very, very smooth.

      I also like the chei jai meen (push stall noodles) that they have and the fishballs. :)

    • Heh! It’s really good though!

      You’ve got to try it at least once. :D

      I don’t even like tofu but I can groove to stinky tofu. :)

    • Haha!

      Fair enough. It doesn’t gel with some people, while others love it.

      It’s exactly like durian in that respect, either you love it or you hate it.

      I quite like it to be honest. :)

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