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Stinky tofu

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I've always been an adventurous one when it comes to food and ever since hearing about stinky tofu i've wanted to try it. I will be visiting LA in April and looked up some places online that supposedly carry the hard-to-find dish.

I found an old review of "foo chow" that claims they have it, but i found their menu on menu pages and couldn't find anything other than fried tofu... I also found "old country cafe" with recent reviews mentioning their stinky tofu, however i found a copy of their menu online and the only thing i can see that might be stinky tofu is their "special fried bean curd" but im not entirely sure on that one(maybe someone that's been there could fill me in?).

and last but not least i found the "Stinky tofu king" in rowland heights, it's quite a drive from the hotel i will be staying at though, and pictures of the stall show nothing written in english...

so if someone can fill me in, that'd be great

thanks! :)

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  1. Won Won Kitchen

    Pa Pa Walk

    Indian

    And yes, Old Country Cafe still does have stinky tofu ... and it's still pretty good.

    -----
    Won Won Kitchen
    9461 Las Tunas Dr, Temple City, CA 91780

    PA PA Walk
    227 W Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

    Indian Restaurant
    633 S San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

    7 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Won Won, Pa Pa & Old Country are casual cafes that you can pop in and out quickly. But Indian Restaurant is a quintessential Taiwanese beer pub that is extremely popular (and extremely loud) for its plethora of pub food dishes, reasonable prices, and the lovely "Inidan" server girls (a la Hooters). Best way to get a table is by reservation or show up at 6 PM when they open. Besides stinky tofu, you also have to try the fried pig intestines.

      1. re: fdb

        Indian's take is pretty good, and they serve it 3 different ways (fried, sauteed, and braised, IIRC). Theirs is definitely not as pungent as most, which is probably lucky for the rest of the patrons.

        I don't think it's legal to serve "real" stinky tofu here; my understanding is that everywhere (even the really stinky places) simulate the taste using herbs, but I could be wrong.

        1. re: fdb

          ps - Hooters is the best comparison I can think of too, but the atmosphere is much less overtly sexual, and the outfits (uggs, leather tool belts, black t-shirts, sorta short denim shorts or skirts, and a feather in a headband) are not as hyper-sexual as the outfits at a Hooters. Plus it's just kind of funny, because they're clearly not trying that hard to look like Native Americans. I guess there's a burger chain in Taiwan called Indian, maybe there's a loose connection.

          The funniest part is an older guy (maybe the manager or owner) hanging around who looks kind of like an Asian Hugh Hefner - an old guy with poufy white hair and wearing suspenders. Awesome!

          1. re: will47

            that would be the owner. i refer to him as the asian larry king. =)

            1. re: wilafur

              The gf thought he looked like Christopher Walken too.

        2. re: ipsedixit

          Ips, went to Won Won last night. Was really bummed they didn't have Stinky Tofu anymore. The owner said that he just stopped making it not too long ago. But i had the minced pork rice, friedchicken, meatball soup (love!) and i was more than content. such a homey place. posting will be up on my blog soon. thanks for the recs.

          1. re: eatdrinknbmerry

            #$%&#$!

            That's too bad to hear. Thanks for the heads up.

        3. More often than not restaurants touting Taiwanese food will have chow tofu on their menu. There is a fine collection of such restaurants in Irvine off Jeffries or off Culver; also in Rowland Heights. It's been a while since I've enjoyed Taiwanese food so I don't remember their names but usually the English translation of their names will have "garden" as one of the words. You'll know it's authentic Taiwanese if they have pork belly mustard green buns on their menu. HongKong style cafes (not full blown restaurants), many of which can be found off Valley Road in San Gabriel often have it too. Stinky tofu is a fairly simple dish and there will not be any appreciable difference among restaurants. Bon Appetit.

          1. Actually I don't think it will be hard to find in San Gabriel Valley at all. There's a very small restaurant in Hong Kong Supermarket plaza that specializes in stinky tofu, don't know if it's the stinky tofu king you referred to. It's taiwanese style, which has a different taste. I can take the smell, but the taste is a bit overwhelming (this from a person who loves anchovies). Anyway, even if they don't speak english you can just point and ask.

            3 Replies
            1. re: notmartha

              That's interesting. The smell always bugged me, especially before I tried it (smells like the world's worst breath times 1000), but after I finally tried some while I was in mainland China, I was surprised that the taste was so comparatively mild.

              1. re: will47

                The taste is mild in Hong Kong as well, at least that I remembered eating while growing up there. But the taiwanese style I tried at the Hong Kong Supermarket Plaza - the taste was definitely worse than the smell.

                1. re: notmartha

                  I had these in Hong Kong as well and actually, I could smell them a mild away. I could see them just soaking in the fermented liquid in tubs. They were tasty.

                  The guy at the HK Supermarket Plaza in Rowland makes it pretty good - love the pickled cabbage (pao tsai) that comes with it. mmm.

            2. Mama's Kitchen has stinky tofu ...deep fried or steamed with a spicy red chili sauce.

              Located on New Avenue just south of Valley

              Also one located on Atlantic Blvd. in the same strip mall as Elite Restaurant (dim sum) and Foo Foo Tei in Monterey Park

              1. FYI, sticky tofu is pronounced "chou(4) dou(4) fu(3)" in Mandarin.

                1 Reply
                1. re: fdb

                  Chinese characters are: 臭豆腐

                  wiki article:
                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stinky_tofu

                2. thanks for all the replies! anyone have experience with foo chow's stinky tofu?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: RTF_Guitarist

                    No, but I wouldn't consider trying it since Foo Chow is not a Taiwanese restaurant. There is no Taiwanese food in Chinatown.

                    1. re: Chandavkl

                      I wouldn't try it at Foo Chow either, but I don't follow - while stinky tofu is popular in Taiwan, it's not only Taiwanese (though you may prefer a particular style).

                      The gf is partial to Lee's Garden.
                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/37228...

                      BTW, reading the wikipedia article about traditional production, sounds like dried shrimp is occasionally used in the brine - anyone know how common that is (either here or overseas), or in what regions that is most common? I am both vegetarian and allergic to shellfish, so I would prefer to avoid cho dou fu made with shrimp.

                      -----
                      Lee's Garden
                      1428 S Atlantic Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91803

                      1. re: will47

                        will47: Do you know where you can get chou(4) dou(4) fu(3) Hunan style? Blackened and foul smelling? Thanks.

                        Also any place for Singapore chili Crab (red)? Thanks again. Don

                  2. One note: If this is your first introduction to Stinky Tofu (or Odorous Tofu) you should *not* try it at Mama's Kitchen... yet. :)

                    Mama's Kitchen in San Gabriel does a homemade Stinky Tofu (Fried or Steamed), and the Steamed version they have is HARDCORE (extremely pungent and definitely not for newbies :). This would have to be the most "odorous" tofu I've had in the U.S. (although not exceeding the hardcore level I hit while visiting Taipei one time on a trip through Asia :).

                    http://www.yelp.com/biz/mamas-kitchen...

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: exilekiss

                      yeah, Im not even brave enough to dig into the steamed stuff just yet haha...

                      1. re: exilekiss

                        I have yet to try Mama's stinky tofu simply because I'm not "convinced". the shop is self-admittedly no longer a Taiwanese joint, hasn't been for over 10 years.

                        steamed stinky tofu also available at:
                        Ding's Garden
                        534 E Valley Blvd
                        San Gabriel, CA 91776
                        (626) 573-5668

                        Taipei Ning Gi Hotpot:
                        2019 1/2 S. HACIENDA BLVD
                        Hacienda Heights, CA 91745
                        http://www.yelp.com/biz/taipei-ning-g...

                        B20 is essentially Indian of the north with cheaper beer, so of course they also do stinky tofu 3 ways:
                        8841 E Las Tunas Dr.
                        Temple City, CA, 91780

                        there's a new-ish Cantonese operated Taiwanese-style beer house in the same strip mall as Giang-Nan
                        306 N Garfield Avenue
                        Monterey Park, CA 91755

                        they also have fried stinky tofu. the portion was huge but it wasn't any good.

                        1. re: TonyC

                          It's actually called Taiwan Beer House and like Indian, they only open for dinner.

                      2. If you want something hardcore, try Boiling Point in Monterey Park, they have hot pots made with stinky tofu...

                        Second Old Country Cafe & Mama's Kitchen.