Enough of that stinky tofu

Stinky tofu, a south China delicacy loved by some and detested by others, finally wore out its welcome in one Taiwanese neighbourhood.

05 Sep 2007

Local environmental authorities got the high court's permission on Monday to fine a suburban Taipei restaurant for exceeding the stench limit by three times, a county official said on Tuesday.

After measuring the stink around the Kuang Tou Lao restaurant and receiving 16 complaints since April 2006, Taipei County's Environmental Protection Bureau fined the outdoor restaurant T$100,000 ($3,000).

"The stench level in the air was just too much, and the public was unhappy about it," said Huang Shun-hsiao, a division chief with the bureau.

At lower stench levels, Taiwan and much of China tolerate the fermented tofu, or bean curd, because the odour leads to a fragrant taste. The dish, often mixed with herbs and shrimp, is common fare in Taiwan's open markets.

Kuang Tou Lao's owner had protested against the fine, calling it too steep for a small business, Huang said. But the owner vowed to reduce the stench.

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