Intriguing stinky tofu draws crowds in Saigon

Travel Guide

If you’re an adventurous foodie seeking unique culinary experiences, then Saigon has a surprise in store for you. Amidst the bustling streets of HCMC’s District 3, a cart on Tran Quoc Thao Street has become a magnet for food enthusiasts, attracting crowds of curious diners. What is the secret behind this captivating culinary sensation? It’s none other than the intriguing and notorious “stinky tofu.”

The Pungent Aroma of Stinky Tofu

As you approach the cart on Tran Quoc Thao Street, you’ll likely be greeted by a strong, distinctive aroma that fills the air. This is the signature smell of stinky tofu, a fermented tofu dish that has a reputation for its pungent scent. The unique aroma is often described as a combination of cheese, mushrooms, and a hint of something sour.

The Fascination of Stinky Tofu

Despite its polarizing smell, stinky tofu has managed to captivate many diners, drawing them in with its intriguing flavors and textures. The dish originated in China and has since gained popularity throughout various Asian countries, including Vietnam. Stinky tofu enthusiasts appreciate its complex taste, which can range from salty and savory to tangy and slightly sweet.

Where to Find the Best Stinky Tofu in Saigon

If you’re eager to embark on a stinky tofu adventure, the cart on Tran Quoc Thao Street is the place to be. This humble street food stall has become renowned for serving some of the best stinky tofu in Saigon. Join the long queue of enthusiastic food lovers who patiently wait for their turn to savor this unique delicacy.

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Preparing and Cooking Stinky Tofu

The process of making stinky tofu involves fermentation, which gives the tofu its distinct smell and flavor. The tofu is typically soaked in a brine made from a mixture of ingredients such as vegetables, meat, and various spices. The fermentation process can take anywhere from a few days to several months, depending on the desired intensity of flavor.

Once the tofu is fermented, it is deep-fried to achieve a crispy exterior while maintaining a soft and creamy interior. The result is a delightful contrast of textures that adds to the overall culinary experience of enjoying stinky tofu.

Stinky Tofu: A Culinary Adventure

Eating stinky tofu is not just about satisfying your taste buds; it’s an adventure for the senses. As you take your first bite, you’ll be greeted with a burst of flavors that dance on your palate. The creamy tofu interior pairs harmoniously with the crispy exterior, creating a delightful mouthfeel. The pungent aroma, which may have initially put you off, now adds depth and character to the overall experience.

Saigon’s stinky tofu is a testament to the city’s vibrant street food culture and its ability to surprise and delight adventurous eaters. Embrace the uniqueness of this culinary gem and allow your taste buds to embark on an unforgettable journey.


In Saigon, culinary surprises await at every corner, and stinky tofu is a prime example. Despite its distinctive aroma, this fermented tofu dish has managed to captivate many diners with its intriguing flavors and textures. The cart on Tran Quoc Thao Street has become a gathering spot for food enthusiasts eager to experience the enchantment of stinky tofu firsthand. Embark on this culinary adventure and let the pungent allure of stinky tofu transport you to a world of unique gastronomic delights.

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1. Is stinky tofu only available in Saigon? Stinky tofu is a popular dish throughout various Asian countries, including China, Taiwan, and Vietnam. However, Saigon’s stinky tofu offers its own unique flavors and culinary experience.

2. Can I adjust the intensity of the stinky tofu’s flavor? The intensity of stinky tofu’s flavor can vary depending on the fermentation process. Some prefer a milder taste, while others enjoy the bolder and more intense flavors that come with longer fermentation.

3. Are there any vegetarian or vegan options for stinky tofu? While traditional stinky tofu is made with a brine that often contains animal products, some vendors offer vegetarian or vegan versions using plant-based ingredients.

4. Can I take stinky tofu as a takeaway? Yes, you can take stinky tofu as a takeaway. Many vendors provide convenient packaging options for customers who want to enjoy this unique dish at home or on the go.

5. Are there any health benefits to eating stinky tofu? Tofu is a good source of protein and contains essential nutrients. However, stinky tofu is often deep-fried, so it’s important to enjoy it in moderation as part of a balanced diet.