Stinky Tofu (臭豆腐）
This dish is widely believed to have roots in the southeastern maritime areas of China. One legend claims that the dish was invented by a scholar known as Wang Zhihe during the Qing Dynasty. Wang had opened a tofu shop in Beijing after failing the imperial exam. To prevent his tofus from rotting in the heat, he began preserving them in an earthenware jar filled with salt water but later forgot about the jar until it was winter. Upon opening the jar he found the tofu had turned greenish and putrid. However, since he did not wish to waste the tofu, he ate it and found it delicious. Later, he decided to sell this dish in his shop.
Stinky tofu can be served barbecued, stewed, braised, steamed or deep fried.
The scent of stinky tofu is often described as a cross between burning garbage and rotten meat. However, as a rule in Taiwan, it is said that the stinkier the tofu the better it will taste.