Dai's House of Stinky Tofu has another name in Chinese -- House of Unique Stink. It may sound funny to foreigners who are loathe to try the unique dish, but after visiting Dai's, one may find that stinky tofu really doesn't taste as bad as it smells.
Almost every dish at Dai's is made using stinky tofu. There are the typical tofus; steamed, stir-fried, and grilled, but Dai's is the only place in the world, according to owner Wu Hsu Pi-ying (
Decades ago, stinky tofu was a military staple for soldiers patrolling China's borders. But as Taiwan's night-market culture developed, so did stronger, spicier and more diverse flavors of stinky tofu.
PHOTO: YU SEN-LUN
Unlike most night-market stinky tofu stands where the odor permeates the air, Dai's house is simply a clean, ordinary restaurant with a huge Crouching Tiger poster on the wall.
Film director Lee Ang (
The somewhat freaky cold stinky tofu (涼拌臭豆腐) is actually quite refreshing -- similar to, but milder than blue cheese. With its soft and dense texture, it's served with shredded scallions in a light soy sauce and is recommended as a starter.
The raw tofu adds a new line to Dai's 50-year-old menu and is, according to Wu, the healthiest way to try stinky tofu.
In some places, you really don't want to know how the tofu is made, said Wu. Long ago, some used rotting seafood to ferment the bean curd while others used chemicals. But Dai's products are all vegetarian, using amaranth, mustard leaf, bamboo shoots and more than 10 kinds of Chinese herbs to ferment the bean curd for six months, said Wu.
Pure vegetarianism has turned Dai's stinky tofu into something of an urban legend. Seven years ago, Tsinghua University's (
Fried stinky tofu is the least pungent and therefore more suitable for first-timers. The fried tofu of the house (招牌炸) is Dai's flagship dish and has extra-crispy skin and smooth tofu inside. Try mixing the four sauces into your own blend: soy sauce, garlic and radish pastes and chili sauce.
For solo visitors, the tofu fried noodles with spicy and sour sauce (
The chills were what first tipped me off that something was wrong. It was an early Thursday evening in late February and I was sitting in my office. I normally hit an energy low this time of the day but this was different, as I suddenly felt chilled, absolutely drained of energy, the lightest of achiness in my muscles and joints and a slight pain behind my eyeballs. I went home, took a long hot shower and went to bed early. After a full day of rest, I felt normal enough on Saturday to jump on my bike and enjoy
1. If you go to the hospital for a check-up, plan for the worst-case scenario — having to stay there without returning home. Have a hospital “grab bag” to either take with you or have someone deliver. Recommended items include: T-shirts, shorts and sleeping clothes, socks and underwear, sweater/fleece, personal toiletries and medications, computer (and headphones) and phone plus charging cables, towel, slippers, nail clippers and reading material. Also, have a water bottle/container that nurses can fill up with drinking water. Remember that Taiwanese hospitals generally only provide the most basic of daily necessities. 2. If you test positive, anticipate
When a man surnamed Chen discovered that his wife, surnamed Chang, was having an affair with a foreign national surnamed James, he hired private investigators to catch them having sex. Chen and three private investigators staked out James’ apartment and, when they heard moaning sounds coming from Chang, burst in and filmed the couple in flagrante delicto. A judge later found the pair guilty of adultery and sentenced them to four months in prison, and ordered the foreign national to be deported. Like anywhere, adultery is a daily occurrence in Taiwan, and rarely a day passes when an adulterous couple
With around 10,000 descendants packing the ancestral shrine every Tomb Sweeping Day, the Yeh family’s grand affair made a bid for the Guiness Book of World Records in 2016. They won’t be coming even close on Saturday. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, less than 30 people will be attending and conducting the rituals. “We hope that our ancestors don’t take offense,” branch association head Yeh Lun-tsai (葉倫在) tells the Liberty Times (sister paper of the Taipei Times). Tomb Sweeping Day activities can potentially aggravate the spread of the virus as large groups congregate in cemeteries and columbariums at the same