Stinky Tofu 101: Spices Taiwanese Restaurant , Inner Richmond, SF

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I’ve been anticipating today for months now! My first taste of one of the world’s most “love it or hate it” foods — Stinky Tofu.

The name of this dish serves as a warning label to any eaters who aren’t feeling extra ambitious. Considered the National dish of Taiwan, stinky tofu is soybean curd that is fermented for several days in vegetable matter. It is typically deep fried to serve or braised in a soup or stew.

It wouldn’t have taken a CSI investigation to prove that I ordered stinky tofu. As the plate of food entered the dining room, so too did a distinct smell which was reminiscent of a ripe cheese.

Deep breath….and bite! What a shock to my senses! I’d be lying if I said that none of the fermented aroma shined through in the taste. It had a pungent taste which, by itself, was event hard for my optimistic self to cope with. However, when combined with the salty, spicy and garlicky flavors in the dishes we ordered, the “stink” was balanced and even, dare I say, enhanced.

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Numbing Spicy Cucumber — delicious!

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Snow Crab with Fried Garlic

Our trip to Spices Taiwanese in San Francisco’s Richmond district was a truly enlightening experience; however, it is not a pilgrimage that all must take. My wife described stinky tofu as, “the worst thing she has ever eaten”, yet she loved the experience and the rest of the food at Spices.

In closing, I will leave you with three pieces of advice. 1. Go with an open mind, 2. Taste the stink at least twice and 3. Don’t take a first date to get stinky tofu and mounds of fried garlic

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