Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hitting the Spot

As I head closer and closer to my destination, the dank smell of human excretion and rotting garbage grows overwhelmingly strong.

I inhale deeply. Ahh, there's no mistaking that smell.

The trusty stinky tofu stand is just ahead.

And now I know I'm home at last. If there's one thing I miss most about Taiwan, it's the food. It seems to be in Asia that the dirtier a restaurant is, the better the food turns out to be. I suppose there's just something mysteriously exciting about not knowing exactly where your food has been. And if your food happens to smell like a towel that has been used by the entire USC football team after the craziest game of the year, even better!

Two kinds of stinky tofu exist, the deep-fried kind and the boiled kind.

I'm not an avid fan of the first as it just isn't stinky enough for me (not to mention my mother tells me not to eat fried foods b/c they clog your arteries). The second, however, is literally a taste of heaven (or hell, which might be more fitting for stinky tofu first-timers). Watching a formerly white-turned-brown piece of tofu jiggling in a boiling pot of secret-ingredient goodness is, I suppose, not a normal pastime for most Americans.

But for Taiwan natives, getting a meal of stinky tofu (especially if it's free) is like getting a bouquet of long-stemmed red roses from the love of your life.

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