Thursday, August 20, 2009

so wrong (but i ate it) and rambles

ever since i watched andrew zimmerman's crazy ass food show about taiwan, i have wanted to try stinky tofu. there are two different kinds (from what i've seen and heard about). one is the fried stuff, that isn't too bad, and the other stuff is wet, and from what i can tell, uncookedish and nastier than mr. nasty himself. i've told quite a few people back home that i intend to try and down it, and even promised d-mac i'd send him a video of it. well... we went out to the japanese restaurant (one of the two restaurants down the street from us) and decided we'd be brave and try and tell the nice kind of english speaking waiter/manager that we wanted to try some fried tofu. allison wasn't a huge fan of the soggy marinated tofu we had last time. i'll eat anything, so i was ready for something new. note to self: if someone ever describes food in a game of charades, and then put their fingertips in front of their upper lip, make an ugly face, and move their fingertips down and back up a few times, just pray to whatever god you believe in that allison IS NOT on your team. she goes, "i think he is trying to tell us that it is going to be spicy! we should get it, you like spicy." true story - i like spicy food. see: mad dog 357 (drew likes it too. on his burritos at lunch). soooo... we order the "spicy" tofu, some water spinach (we think... we're still not sure what it is actually called), two orders of noodles, and some water. we always order extra so we can take it home. all of that cost about $9 US.

out comes of the food! well, not all at once. in taiwan, they don't you make you wait around for one dish, they just bring it out as it is done. first we got our noodles (udon, i think), and then our veggies, which are amazing, and we're eating along, and we're enjoying our dinner, and allison still thinks she is going to like the tofu, and i'm excited for spicy tofu. slowly, the waiter makes his way towards our table and i know, without a doubt, that HE knows he wasn't making the "this is hot face," because now that i think about it, i know he wasn't making the "this is hot face," the - stick your tongue out and pretend like you're sweating look. plates goes down, chopsticks from both sides of the table reach out to partake in the wonderful japanese spicy tofu we're about to enjoy. unfortunately for allison, i decided to set my piece down for a second so i could get a drink. i'm about two seconds behind her on the "whoa, this isn't spicy, this is sewage" train, but it hit me just as quick. in allison's defense, some of the peppers in the dish were incredibly spicy, but we all know now the hand motion for super stinky tofu. allison did finish her one bite and i ended up eating half of it that night and the other half the next day in the faculty lunch room (and once that stuff is reheated, it smells as bad as it tastes). however, here is the weird thing about it. 80% of the time you're chewing it up, it tastes amazing, it's just the other 20% of the time it is in your mouth, you feel like you're gnawing on gelled sewage that has been lightly fried with a hint of seasoning. overall, the meal was pretty good. i'd order it again, but wouldn't expect a kiss from allison for the following three hours.

the not so spicy stinkiest of the stank tofu
(and this isn't even the bad stuff!)

other ramblings:
- we bought our car! it is a 1998 nissan verita but everyone thinks it is a 1958 and it is pretty swanky (thanks to our teacher friends who spent a long time on a saturday driving us around. and we ended up getting the first one we looked at)
- allison drove home for the first time the other day and did an amazing job
- the actual driving part isn't bad, it is when you have to stop at a light or turn. that is when the scooters decide to close in
- i've ran more red lights in the last three days than i have in the last 27 years
- the lines on the roads here don't mean anything (at all)
- we have our furniture all set up. wireless internet all set up. allison has her iphone up and running. skype is perfect. the wii is in place. and i have a multi-regonal dvd player going.
- the no-see-'em mosquitoes love allison. a lot. i'd say the ratio of bites for allison compared to jeremiah is easily 23:0
- i finally finished the ishmael triology. going to teach a few of the concepts this year i think. starting back up on the neverending story. finish any good books lately? let me/us know!
- when you fill your tank at a gas station, you get a free bottle of water and/or towels to wipe your hands off with (all self service)
- it is amazing how many older people, like 75 year olds, are hopping on scooters and riding their bikes around compared to in the US. it just amazes me.
- i did receive my ARC card, which means i now have a bank account, a chop, a chinese name (jerry), and a stamped international drivers license. however, allison's ARC card was missing her last name and the first letter of her first name, so her card should be here soon!
- goodbye megan. taiwan already misses you!
- and that's all i can think of. if you have any questions, comment away. hope to hear from you soon. later!

ps here is what the good stuff looks like from our local thai yum (or thai yun?) don't remember

(currently listening to the doves album - kingdom of rust. great.)


  1. I loved reading about your stinky tofu experience. If I remember right, that is the first food Andrew Zimmerman could NOT (or would not) eat. I'm proud of you too. However, I do not plan to try that when I visit.

    I like that the restaurant serves the food when it is ready. That is how my dinner was served last night as we misjudged when the barbeque would be ready compared to the potatoes, bread and veggie!

    Love you lots and love reading your blog!

  2. What is it that actually makes the tofu stink? I'm intrigued, and slightly disgusted.

  3. great story!!! I'm kind of grossed out by this tofu business though!

  4. you haven't found the right gas station yet. there are some that are full service that if you fill a full tank, you get a case of bottled water.

    stinky tofu is suppose....supose,i repeat to taste good, but just don't smell it, it's pretty bad.

  5. lol i couldn't stop laughing about the stinky tofu. you need to try the stinky tofu in those big round vats on the street. the smell makes me want to vom.
    :) i'll say hi to america for you. enjoy taiwan!

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  7. I just want to clarify the part that Jeremiah posted about ordering the stinky tofu. The man was talking about the tofu being spicy - he actually said in English "spicy" then waved his hand in front of his nose like it would clear your sinuses (like wasabi). I was sitting right next to him and he did not make an ugly face. I thought that maybe he was just not as good at charades as Jeremiah is. AND Jeremiah failed to recount how after he ate his reheated leftovers he blew his stinky breath in my face - super yuck! Overall I'm glad we had it, though I won't be ordering it on purpose any time soon.