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Cooking up a stink: Taiwanese Night Market serves up stinky tofu

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“Your food stinks!” is not an insult to this cook.

The “Taiwanese Night Market” returns to Williamsburg for a third year on April 25, and one vendor plans on making its presence known with a dish that is exactly what it advertises — stinky tofu.

“I want to introduce this dish to adventurous eaters and people who are willing to submit to something new,” said Carson Yiu, the founder of Smorgasburg staple Outerborough, which has been at all the previous night markets.

It might sound off-putting to many Westerners, but stinky tofu is considered a delicacy in Taiwan, explained Yiu. His mother brought a secret recipe with her to the United States, and now supplies most of the restaurants in Flushing, Queens, with their stinky tofu.

“I grew up hating it, but mom decided to make it a business and my love started to grow,” he said.

The dish is created by taking fresh tofu and fermenting it for a few days in vegetable culture, Yiu explained. It is then dried and fried until it is crispy, and served with pickled cabbage and a housemade sauce created with soy, hoisin, and Sriracha.

If you think that doesn’t sound so weird — think again.

“The flavor resembles an old sweaty sock that married blue cheese,” said Yiu.

Alongside Outerborough, there will be 11 other Taiwanese-inspired food stands at the night market, including street vendor A-Pou Dumplings, returning favorite Taicken Chicken, and Long Island sandwich shop General Tso’Boy — which makes Asian-influenced po’boy sandwiches.

One of the event’s organizers said the market was created to give both fearless and first-time foodies the chance sample new food and experience different cultures.

“The genesis of this event stems from our desire to create a great experience for our attendees,” said Alex Shih, external vice president of Taiwanese American Professionals New York.

The event is also an opportunity for new and upcoming vendors to gain experience and exposure, he said.

“Some of our vendors are debuting or still in the early stages of their business, so we feel an obligation to give them their time to shine,” said Shih.

“Taiwanese Night Market” at the Villain (50 N. Third St. between Kent and Wythe avenues in Williamsburg, www.nightmarket.tapny.org). April 25 at 7–10 pm. $40.

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Reasonable discourse

Jenn from Brooklyn says:
Hi Sara,
I wanted to connect with you through email regarding Ayara Thai (one of LA's hottest Thai restaurants) who will be coming out to LA next month and setting up interviews and looking into doing pop-up events.

You can reach me at jenn@localitela.com
April 30, 2014, 5:10 pm
Jenn from Brooklyn says:
Correction: Ayara Thai will be coming to NY next month.
April 30, 2014, 5:11 pm

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