stinky tofu shenkeng

Stinky tofu, what can I say about it?  It is like a love-hate relationship for some people when it comes down to stinky tofu.  Some people just hate it,  while some people just love it.  The smell of stinky tofu to some is unbearable, resembling the smell of garbage, or even worse…poop.  But to me, there’s always a sweet spot in me for stinky tofu….it’s one of those things like durian, an acquired taste where the smell and taste is like heaven!  And just my luck, there is a special district in Taipei where it is considered the holy grail of stinky tofu.  The place is called Shenkeng…and it is probably the best place to be in Taipei for this aromatic tofu snack!    

Before I begin on this magnificent journey to Shenkeng, let me get the logistics out of the way first and show you how to get there.  Shenkeng is a rural village on the south side of Taipei city.  It is kind of off the tourist trail, and the only reason I found out about Shenkeng was through my friend from Taipei who recommended the place.  So you will need to pay close attention on how to get there.  Ready?  Ok, here we go….

1.) You first take the MRT subway train to Muzha MRT station.  Get off at Muzha station.

2.) There is only one exit at the train station, so head out there.

muzha station to go to shenkeng

This is what the exit of Muzha station will look like.  Exit through here and walk down the street from it.

3.) walk down the street from the subway station until you see the OK mart (it is a convenience store)

walk down the street from muzha station

Continue walking down the street from the MRT station, and you will see a OK mart in front.  Cross the street and walk to the OK mart.

4.) Cross the Street and right in front of the OK mart is a bus stop.

OK mart

That’s what the OK mart looks like.  Make sure you cross the street, and walk right in front of the OK mart where the bus stop is.

5.) Take bus # 660, 666, or 819

6.) Ride the bus and ask the bus driver to stop the bus at Shenkeng.  If you don’t know Chinese, just politely ask to stop at “Shun Kung”.  One of the landmarks you can recognize when you are at Shenkeng, is a cafe called 85 C (hope the cafe is still there…)

shenkeng entrance

The cafe 85 C, this is one of the recognizable landmarks when you know you have arrived at Shenkeng.

shenkeng

Right beside the cafe 85 is the entrance to Shenkeng, you head to the left side of the above picture.

Okay, so with the logistics out of the way, it is time to start our stinky tofu adventure!  When I went with my wife that day, we decided that our entire lunch will be strictly a tofu diet.  From what we heard from my friend in Taipei, this entire village specializes in making stinky tofu, and many of the outlets there sell their tofu products to the rest of Taipei.  It was simply incredible, one whole street just dedicated to stinky tofu!  We just couldn’t wait to see what was there waiting for us!

shenkeng entrance - stinky tofu!

Entrance to the main street in Shenkeng.  When we went there was massive construction to give it a facelift.  Hopefully when you visit, the construction is completed.

The moment we set foot in the entrance, the familiar smell of the smelly tofu starts to kick in from all over.  It was incredible!

The first stall we approached was located in front of a temple near the entrance of the street.  It was serving huge blocks of tofu over a charcoal grill.  Basically it was barbecued stinky tofu.  There was kind of a blue cheese smell from it, but once you get past the smell, it sure looked good to eat.  We bought one skewer which had 2 big blocks of tofu on it for only 15 Taiwan dollars (which is only 50 cents US!!!).  I took a bite, and surely enough, it tasted freakin amazing!  It had a kind of a spiciness to it, and the tofu was quite soft and juicy inside.

1st stinky tofu stall

The stall on the left was the first stall we tried.  It was serving barbecued stinky tofu.

stinky tofu barbecue stall

The barbecue stinky tofu stall.

closeup of stinky tofu

Closeup of the stinky tofu over the grill, along with the condiments of pickles that must accompany the stinky tofu, for the ultimate taste!

stinky tofu - yum!

Here’s the stinky tofu we bought, we some spicy cabbage pickles on top!

me eating stinky tofu

That’s me taking the first bite out of the stinky tofu.  The verdict…

yummy stinky tofu

The verdict was delicious!  YUM!

What really amazed me of Shenkeng was the fact that they had different recipes for stinky tofu.  Unlike the commonly deep fried stinky tofu variety you see across Asia (such as Hong Kong, and Singapore), here in Shenkeng there were different cooking styles that I never knew that could be used to cook stinky tofu!  Some of the ones we saw was the barbecued variety (such as the pictures shown above), and there was a boiled variety served with bamboo shoots, or alternatively served with pork blood cubes in a spicy ma-la soup base.  Right across the barbecued stall was a nice restaurant serving these soup based smelly tofu varieties.

stinky tofu restaurant

The restaurant we went to eat the soup based smelly tofu.

huge woks with stinky tofu

Huge woks with the different flavoured soup base with stinky tofu simmering inside.

My wife and I ordered a side dish of boiled bamboo for 120 Taiwan dollars (4.00 USD), a standard serving of the stinky tofu with bamboo shoots for 60 Taiwan dollars (2.00 USD), and one serving of the ma-la spicy broth stinky tofu for 60 Taiwan dollars (2.00 USD).

Boiled bamboo…quite tasty.

bamboo and stinky tofu

Bamboo with stinky tofu.

close up view of bamboo stinky tofu

Closeup of the bamboo smelly tofu dish.  A standard size portion, is quite big!

ma-la stinky tofu

Stinky tofu with pork blood cubes in a ma-la spicy broth.

smelly tofu ma-la style

Another view of the smelly tofu in ma-la spicy soup.

All of the items we ordered were extremely good.  The bamboo shoots and bamboo stinky tofu had a light salty and sweet taste, while the ma-la tofu dish had a pungent spicy taste from the ma-la soup base.  What was particularly surprising to me was that it seems that when you order stinky tofu cooked in soup, it doesn’t have that “stinky” smell anymore!  So this maybe some good news to those who simply don’t like the smell.

stinky tofu in crates

To give you an idea of how much stinky tofu that restaurant had in stock!  It was a few crates full!

One of the biggest mistakes we made when we visited Shenkeng was that we did not pace ourselves, and simply ate too much smelly tofu too early in the game.  We were too eager to eat the tofu, and being so tasty and all, we just couldn’t stop eating in the beginning.

What regrettably happened was that we got too full too soon to be able to sample to rest of the stinky tofu varieties at Shenkeng.  Definitely I must plan a second trip back to Shenkeng soon!  However the good news was that I was able to take some pics of the rest of the tofu restaurants and stalls at Shenkeng to let you all know what else to expect.  So check it out below:

another smelly tofu restaurant

Another restaurant selling soupy smelly tofu.

Closeup of what they were serving.

Another restaurant with a pretty cool old time feel.

Here’s the variety of tofu they were selling.

Another stall selling barbecued smelly tofu.

stinky tofu

The barbecued stinky tofu here had a even greater smell than the one I tried in the beginning.

So if you are looking for something different and unique in Taipei that is off the tourist trail, then I highly recommend you to check out Shenkeng for some smelly tofu.  Even if you are not a stinky tofu fan, then maybe a visit to Shenkeng may change your opinion and convert you into a raging fan!  Well maybe will or maybe will not…the only way you will find out is to give it a try…  😉

Location map to Shenkeng:

Location map from where you board the bus from Muzha MRT station to get to Shenkeng.
1.) You first take the MRT subway train to Muzha MRT station.  Get off at Muzha station.
2.) There is only one exit at the train station, so head out there.
3.) Walk down the street from the subway station until you see the OK mart (it is a convenience store)
4.) Cross the Street and right in front of the OK mart is a bus stop.
5.) Take bus # 660, 666, or 819
6.) Ride the bus and ask the bus driver to stop the bus at Shenkeng.  If you don’t know Chinese, just politely ask to stop at “Shun Kung”

Location map of Shenkeng District
Area highlighted in Green is where the bus will drop you off (in front of the cafe 85 C shop).
Area highlighted in Red is Shenkeng old street.

stinky tofu shenkeng

Have you tried stinky tofu from other places in the world?  Did it taste good or bad?  Please share your experiences below!

Alec Chan

Alec Chan is an intrepid traveler, travel writer, author, speaker, serial entrepreneur and self professed Asia travel ambassador. Traveling all around Asia since 2003, and still traveling, Alec is an accomplished and passionate traveler seeking to bridge the cultural gaps in Asia. Through his unique perspective as a Canadian born Chinese, Alec shares his special insights on Asia to help others around the world to have a better understanding on Asian culture so that they can have a more meaningful, fun, and stress free trip to Asia. Alec has written numerous travel guides on several destinations in Asia and is the editor in chief of AlecTravelGuide.com

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3 Responses to Stinky Tofu Heaven! – A Walk through Shenkeng District in Taipei!

  1. […] nuffnang_bid = "22722c1fffb48fff8848720bebeb15d0"; Alec Travel Guide Travel. Eat. Drink. Explore. Skip to content HomeAboutStoreTravel ResourcesContact ← Stinky Tofu Heaven! – A Walk through Shenkeng District in Taipei! […]

  2. Tin says:

    Hi! How do I get back to Muzha MRT station from Shenkeng?

    • Alec says:

      Hi Tin;

      Just go back to where you alighted, but take the same bus number heading in the opposite direction. Make sure your taking it back in the opposite direction, else you will head deeper into the Shenkeng area which is not correct.

      I suggest if you are not sure, just double check with the bus driver before you board the bus…they are pretty friendly.

      hope this helps!

      Alec

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