Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Stinky Tofu

Back when I went to Hong Kong in June I got a warning from Elizabeth that I would likely smell the worst thing ever, and it was stinky tofu. Well, she was right, the smell quite literally stuck with me for two hours and I thought I was going to vomit. Not entirely surprisingly, stinky tofu has topped this list of the ten smelliest foods in Asia. Here’s how the describe the scent:

Asian street carts sell this dish–aged, fermented bean curd soaked in a putrid, inky vat as a midday snack. The marinade can be made from bamboo shoots, herbs and dried shrimp, all perfectly aromatic ingredients–except when it sits in room temperature for 14 days (or more). The smellier, the better, but even when served with a side of chili sauce, it remains doubtful that the rancid bean curd tastes any better than decaying bleu cheese sitting in two-day old garbage.

October 31, 2009