Thank you #andrewzimmern for my introduction to Mrs. Wu’s house of stink. I have to say I completely disagree with @andrewzimmern and his description of Mrs. Wu’s tofu.
Shenkeng is known for its’ stinky tofu and it is where my parents have retired. Valleys and mountainous terrain of luscious green surround Shengkeng old street where I can not claim with pride holds the best stinky tofu or close to the best because we are talking about 2 different beasts.
If you truly understand the fermentation process and even indulged in the folklores of how stinky tofu came to be you will find a level of appreciation for this delicacy.
The fermentation is not from bacteria or fungus as cheese is processed. But from the brine of fermented milk, meats or vegetables. The brine fermentation may take months. Their is an incredible amount of variation and secret family ingredients from innumerable regions.
Then there is also an art to releasing the essence of the “stink” in the fermentation process. When done with love and care which takes time and not just a 2 day chemically speed up brining process where the tofu is fried or boiled and what you get is only the taste of brine but no where close to the fully through and through fermented tofu which brings on delicate nuances nuttiness, sweet creaminess, or almost a little tangy reminder of a Parmesan Reggiano. It actually is not stinky at all, for those of us who like robust cheeses will find. And the texture is incredible.
So, I suppose my point is. I am calling out Andrew Zimmern’s inability to appreciate what I would liken to a finely aged wine in the tofu world. Nevertheless, I have a new love for another culinary wonder. It is all that a global trotter asks for in his or her constant quest for new sublime experiences. Our complex olfactory senses has given us a way to enter past memories and make new ones tied to our emotions at the time. Food and company. Love, friends and family.