Taiwan: Mala Stinky Tofu

Restaurant: Chi null
Address: 42 Dixon Road
City: Milpitas, California

I had dinner at a Taiwanese restaurant that recently opened in Milpitas (in the bigger plaza off Dixon Landing Road). My three friends and I were craving stinky tofu so we ordered two different kinds, deep fried stinky tofu (the most popular version) and mala stinky tofu. I will focus on the latter kind in this post.

The name of the dish in Chinese is 麻辣臭豆腐 (málà chòu dòufu), which translates to “spicy stinky tofu” or “mala stinky tofu”.

Mala sauce is a popular oily, spicy, and numbing Chinese sauce which consists of Sichuanese peppercorn, chili pepper, and various spices simmered with oil. The sauce is made primarily of dried chili peppers, chili powder, douban paste, Sichuan peppercorns, clove, garlic, star anise, black cardamom, fennel, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and sugar. These ingredients are simmered with beef tallow and vegetable oil for many hours, and packed into a jar. Other herbs and spices, such as sand ginger, Angelica dahurica, and poppy seeds, can be added to create a unique flavor. —Wikipedia

Chi’s mala stinky tofu included pig blood curd (豬紅, zhū hóng; also called blood tofu or blood pudding), pig intestines, and cilantro.

The mala stinky tofu dish went well with a bowl of rice, and was perhaps the best dish of the night. This dish was emptied out within minutes and we fought over the last piece of stinky tofu, intestine, and blood tofu!

Here’s some info about mala stinky tofu, from the web:

The Taiwanese like to add stinky tofu to a Sichuan-style spicy mala (combination of numbing and spicy) soup base or in hot pots. —They Eat That?: A Cultural Encyclopedia of Weird and Exotic Food from around the World

Spicy stinky tofu is a new cooking method for stinky tofu in Taiwan. Because of the prevalence of spicy hot pot, Taiwanese people came up with a new idea of forming a rich-flavoured spicy hot pot soup base by using stinky tofu, duck blood, and [sometimes] Chinese sauerkraut as the ingredients. This innovative cooking method of stinky tofu is now popular in Taiwanese culture. —Wikipedia

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