Surrounded by the mountains, embraced by the river, Shengkeng, the smallest township in Taiwan teases the appetite of gourmet with the Taiwanese classic but internationally controversial street food－stinky tofu. Though the place may sound notorious for certain people, but let’s put the prejudice aside, and start to know this place from a scratch.
Shengkeng Old Street was roughly formed around 18th century. It was a must-pass land to travel between Taipei and Yilan, also an important transfer station for the vessel. Due to the location, there naturally formed a market selling tea and dye.
The street was originally two meters wide. In 1915, the Japanese colonial government carried out a new urban plan to broaden the street and shape the buildings on the both side into street houses with arcades, which is now the most iconic scene of Shengkeng. The facade features southern Fujian red brick and baroque carving decorations.
Why is stinky tofu so famous in Shengkeng?
It’s more accurate to say tofu is famous in Shengken. The origin of Shengken tofu can be traced back to the Chen’s Tofu, which situated at No.66, Shengken Street. The tofu was purely handmade, following the ancient family recipe. As more and more people tasted Chen’s tofu, the reputation made Shengken the hometown of tofu. With the title crowned on the township, more and more variations of tofu are seen in Shengken, of course including stinky tofu.
Secret of tasty Shengken tofu
Shengken tofu is made with halogen instead of gypsum powder. You can simply say it’s made with sea water. The mineral in the tofu make it taste good and nutritious, and the halogen can easily bring out the mellow flavor of soy beans.
The must-try at Shengken Old Street
It is suggested to bring some friends with you because there are so many foods for you to try. One stomach is definitely not enough.
Shengkeng Under the Tree(深坑大樹下)
The chef’s special is the must try. It a complex with three variations of tofu: braised tofu, braised fish tofu and tofu thick soup.
Jin Dading’s Bake Tofu(金大鼎香豆腐)
You can decide whether to add pickle, peanut powder and coriander. The tofu is baked with sauce, so it tastes soft and juicy. The toppings create a multiple layer of flavor make it taste sweet, salty and spicy. The smell of peanut powder can cover up the smell of stinky tofu, it’s an ideal choice for the first timers.
Baked Stinky Tofu Under the Tree(大樹下烤臭豆腐)
The stinky tofu at this stall tastes chewy, and the smell is thicker. You can choose two toppings out of sauerkraut, pickle, coriander and ginger slice. If you want a stinky tofu challenge, you can give this one a try.
Weng’s Stinky Tofu(王水成臭豆腐)
After trying the baked tofu, you may want something different. How about the spicy tofu? The juicy tofu soaking in the spicy soup is so addicting that you will love to add a bowl of rice one after another. If you are not terrified by the idea of having duck blood, you can also have it in your pot.
Azhu’s Taro Ball(阿珠芋圓)
For the dessert you can’t miss Azhu’s Taro Ball. At the shop, you can taste taro balls in taro, sweet potato, red bean and mung bean flavor. If you are a fan of taro, you can order extra stewed taro.
Mung Bean Smoothie(北一綠豆沙牛奶)
Before you leave Shengken, if there is still room for beverage in your stomach, you must have a cup of mung bean smoothie. You can feel the sweetness of the mung bean mixed with mellow milk