Furry tofu (毛豆腐/máo dòu fǔ)

Updated: Jul 5, 2019 Print
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Furry tofu is made of fresh tofu that has been left to grow a pelt of white mold before being deep-fried to a crisp golden brown. [Photo provided to]

Furry tofu is also called Huizhou funky bean curd. "The taste is much better than the smell," people say, which means that although it has a strong smell, it has a very light and delicate flavor.

Most visitors to the Huangshan area are scared off by the smell, but that is definitely their loss. The traditional snack can be considered as the Chinese alternative to a Stilton or Camembert cheese.

Rumored to have been created during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), this snack was enjoyed by the Kangxi Emperor, making it famous throughout China.

Street vendors carry the bean curd around in a container hanging from a shoulder pole. From one end dangle chopsticks and a pan, and from the other dangle the tofu, sesame oil and hot pepper.

When the oil is heated up, the hot and odorous Mao bean curd, with sounds of "zizi" on the pan, awakens the locals' appetites. It's a special cultural experience to eat Mao bean curd from a street seller. People don’t use bowls, and eat with chopsticks beside the pan. The dish can also be found in many local restaurants.

The deep-fried smelly bean curd is a bit bland, but a black smelly bean curd, served as a cold dish, is better, with a pleasantly chewy taste.

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