1 The origins of Chinese 'smelly foods'

The origins of Chinese 'smelly foods'

Though there is a lack of a clear record, the history of Chinese "smelly foods" can be at least dated back to the Sui Dynasty (581-618), when people made foul fish dishes on purpose. After a long period of evolution, they now come in a number of different varieties, but are primarily made of fish, bean products and vegetables.

2 Smelly wax gourd

Smelly wax gourd

Although described as "stinky", smelly wax gourds have refreshing and crisp flavors that leave a lingering fragrance on the taste buds. They are a fixture on the dining tables of the Ningbo people in East China’s Zhejiang province.

3 Fermented tofu sheets

Fermented tofu sheets

A close relative of "smelly tofu", this renowned Shaoxing signature snack from Zhejiang province is made of thick sheets of bean curd (made of boiled soybean milk) that has gained the nickname of Qianzhang, or "thousand layers".

4 Moldy amaranth stalks

Moldy amaranth stalks

Formerly the most common food among locals in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, moldy amaranth stalks were “active” in nearly every meal alongside other pickles. They were also favored by local monks and gained the nickname “maigre sea eel” for their deliciousness.

5 Strong-smelling preserved tofu

Strong-smelling preserved tofu

Perhaps the most well-known member of the Chinese "smelly food" family, strong-smelling preserved tofu has several distinguished branches which sparkle in different regional cuisines.

6 Dou zhi

Dou zhi

An indispensable snack in Beijing culinary culture, dou zhi, or fermented bean juice, is not only distinguished for its special odor, but also for its long and glorious history. It is believed that this drink emerged during the Liao and Jin dynasties (916-1234).

7 Stinky mandarin fish

Stinky mandarin fish

Hui cuisine, one of the outstanding variants best known for its mellow tastes and original flavors, includes something of a “rebel” dish that is distinctive for its odor – stinky mandarin fish.

8 River snails rice noodles

River snails rice noodles

A sudden hit on the snack market in recent years, river snails rice noodles from Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region are winning more and more advocates, even while being cursed for their "destructive" flavors.

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