深坑鄉 SHEN KEN TOWNSHIP

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Nestled in the northern part of Taipei, Taiwan ROC, self proclaimed ‘The Tofu Capital’ is a rural township that was formerly known for it’s agriculture and mining industries. Now, it is very well known for it’s tofu and the endless ways to cook them: regular tofu, dried tofu, braised stinky tofu, fried stinky tofu, spicy tofu, BBQ stinky tofu, stirred fry tofu, tofu cheese, tofu cake, sweet tofu drink, tofu ice cream, etc. There is so much tofu that it has become a tourist attraction.

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Spending a little more than an hour at the Sken Keng Old Street will be more than enough time to take in all the tofu goodness. It is barely 4 meters wide and both side of the street are lined with eateries that serve this delicacy. Some of them being 20 to 30 years old and boast the expertise in transforming an everyday food item into gourmet.

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A must try are the 臭豆腐 stinky tofu that are an acquired taste with the musky odor needing even more than an acquiring taste. The fermented tofu is very much a Taiwanese delight. Don’t jump back at the thought of compost just try it with a bottle of Taiwanese beer. It is usually a snack served on road side stalls or in night markets or as a side dish in restaurants. It is best eaten fried or spicy braised with a dollop of chili sauce. I bet top dollar that every foreigner that has ever lived in Taiwan will either love it or hate it-nothing in between.

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A very open mind is required for this type of delicacy. Stinky fermented tofu is not for the faint of heart and better to try it where it’s the best, ‘The Tofu Capital’. According to Wikipedia, in December 2010. Shenkeng Township will become Shenkeng District and the entire county will be known as Xinbei City or New North City. This old street will be worth a visit just to experience the sight and smell.

All photos were captured with a Canon EOS 50D+EF24-70mm f/2.8L lens with available light during lunch time while it was raining buckets. Shot RAW and processed in Photoshop.

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