Some people run like hell when they catch a whiff of stinky tofu; others who have acquired a taste for it feel peckish. American celebrity chef and food writer Andrew Zimmern could not bring himself to swallow 14-day old stinky tofu when he was in Taipei.

chew chew chow

But there is no need to travel to Taiwan, Hong Kong or China to take up the stinky tofu challenge. Uptown Kuala Lumpur has its own stinky tofu restaurant, and it is possibly the only one in the country. And, believe it or not, it has been flourishing for five years.

Chew Chew Chow Tofu is divided into a smoking section and a non-smoking section. I choose a table in the less-smelly smoking section as pirouetting fans swirl the air around, driving some of it into the sidewalk. The non-smoking section being air-conditioned and closer to the kitchen, obviously, bears the brunt of the stink. Simple dark wooden tables and chairs make this restaurant resemble a tea house in olden China.

Tasting some stinky tofu

The star of the menu is stinky tofu which is divided into “regular” and “extra crispy”. Five combinations of sauces are available for the regular stinky tofu. They are cheese sauce and mayo; pickle and chili sauce; chili sauce and mayo; tomato ketchup and mayo; and chili sauce and tomato ketchup and mayo. The “extra crispy” version is served is several variations such as original, Thai, Italian, etc. A short list of noodles, snacks, soft drinks and fruit juices complete the menu.

extra crispy stinky tofu - chew chew chow

My original extra crispy stinky tofu (RM3.50) arrives piping hot on a small plastic basket layered with oil-absorbent paper. Each piece of tofu is about the size of a mahjong tile.  My nostrils catch a whiff of rotting garbage hovering above the dish.  I spear a piece into my mouth with a fork. First bite reveals a texture similar to honeycomb but the taste is slightly sourish. However, after two seconds, a horrid stench shoots up from my mouth into my nostrils. I attack the second piece with a morsel of pickle. This time, the tang of the pickle manages to drown the stink.

Next, I try the stinky tofu laced with cheese sauce and mayonnaise (RM4.50). The sauces reduce the stench to a weak linger and softens its texture from firm to spongy.  The cubes of soya bean are quite palatable.

stinky tofu with cheese and mayo - chew chew chow

Ramen and chicken popcorn

Dry ramen (RM6.50) comprises mushroom, fish ball, egg, brown tofu and fried onions. The sweetish fried onions with its caramel-like flavours save this dish from disaster as the other ingredients taste rather bland. The fish balls can bounce if dropped.

dry ramen - chew chew chow

Malat dry ramen (RM7.00) is just a variation of the above by adding malat sauce. Of Szechuan origin, the sauce is oily and spicy. My first mouthful of the el dente noodles make my tongue feel like it is being attacked by a flame thrower!

malat dry ramen - chew chew chow

Chicken popcorn (RM4.90) makes a great snack and there’re also chicken wings, chicken nuggets and fries.

chicken popcorn - che chew chow

Drinks

While eating the stinky tofu, after every bite, my succor-seeking tongue finds mouthfuls of solace in the refreshing soursop juice (RM5.00) and passion fruit juice (RM5.00).

passion fruit juice and soursop juice - chew chew chow

When I return to my car parked at the roadside, I take a sniff. My goodness! My shirt is carrying the smell of rotting garbage! Ah, well…

Location & Details

Chew Chew Chow Tofu

No. 17, Jalan Ambong 2, Kepong Baru, 52100 Kuala Lumpur

Opens from 3 pm to 11 pm. Closed on Monday

Tel: +603-6241 8197

Find: View Chew Chew Chow Tofu’s directory here

8 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Susan Hor May 24, 2016 Subscriber

    Simon Hor Nicholas Saw Sue Ann Lim Neo Wen Wei

  2. Evelyn Pl Lim May 24, 2016 Subscriber

    Fiona Novak stinky tofu has landed in KL

  3. Benedict Tan May 24, 2016 Subscriber

    U interested?

  4. Veronica Tan May 24, 2016 Subscriber

    Benedict Tan,Leng Ling Ling

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