Friday, June 01, 2012

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Shenkeng, Taiwan's tofu capital

6/01/2012 Taiwan Explorer

Shenkeng 深坑 is Taiwan's tofu town and some experts claim, that the sleepy little town near Taipei is the world's tofu capital. Tofu is seen and felt all over Shenkeng: Every business is related to tofu, every lane smells like tofu and on every corner someone is cooking or eating tofu. You think I kid you, but I kid you not.

Shenkeng has a well preserved old street from Japanese times, that is plastered with tofu shops. It's a fairly narrow and not always "old" street, that's also undergoing renovation in many parts. It is however very lovely and I recommend you a stroll on a Sunday afternoon (if you love crowds) or during the week (if you prefer solitude). The little town and its famous street are very crowded during the weekend, so you better be prepared for Taiwanese tofu gourmets standing in long lines to try some of the famous fried tofus there. I highly recommend you to try the barbecue tofu skewer 烤臭豆腐 and the tofu ice cream 豆腐冰淇淋, the first one a delicious street food experience, the second one a uniquely tasty dessert. To reach Shenkeng, the easiest way is to exit at Taipei Zoo MRT Station and then take a cab - the village is nearby. There are also buses heading in the direction (check a map of Shenkeng here).

Let me share some photos of my Shenkeng visit in 2011:

The main road in Shenkeng.

And old house from the Qing dynasty.

The main road again - your typical Taiwanese small town ambiance.

And this is the part where the tofu fun begins.

Tofu soups in huge pots for the soup tofu fans (I'm not one of them).

This part has a wet market feel.

Tofu and chicken in harmony: Tofutopia? 

A map of the old street with some information about the renovations.

A neocolonial red bricked house from the Japanese times.

The Shenkeng old street.

A pot where tofus enjoy their hot spring adventures.

This small river slowly drags itself through Shenkeng.

This uncle knows how to equip himself well for... fighting Mr. Vader, perhaps?

One thing is sure: If you ever come to Shenkeng, be sure you are an enthusiastic fan of this:

Tofu is Shenkeng's biggest attraction. The Chinese word 豆腐 is pronounced similar to the common English swear word "dough-foo".

Tofu-bonus: Here are my top 3 Shenkeng tofu dishes, a must try for every Shenkeng visitor:

1 Barbecue tofu skewer 烤臭豆腐

Simply a delishes tofu "xiao chi" - I wish they had them in Taipei.

2 Tofu pudding 豆腐布丁

It is not cheap and big, but worth a try. Tofu pudding is one of my fav Taiwanese (tr)eats.

3 Tofu ice cream 豆腐冰淇淋

Ice cream, that tastes like tofu? Don't be scared, you will love it! It's fab!

More about Tofu in Taiwan here>>

This is when Richard first tried stinky tofu. Ain't he cute? (I don't know who is Richard)

[TAIWAN TRAVEL][All photos by MKL, 2011]