Taiwan’s stinky tofu makes its debut in Washington’s Smithsonian Museum

The soft power of stinky tofu

Snacks at the Smithsonian, the force of Taiwan's soft power. Image: CNA

Snacks at the Smithsonian, the force of Taiwan's soft power. Image: CNA

TAIWAN, (Taiwan News) Yesterday evening, Taiwan’s famous stinky tofu made its debut in Washington’s Smithsonian Museum.

The occasion was the result of Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau’s New York Representative Office cooperating with the Smithsonian Museum to hold a Taiwan Night Market. The S. Dillon Ripley Center at the museum was filled with red lanterns, snacks and all the sights and sounds of a Taiwan night market—including stinky tofu.

Apart from the tofu, crispy fried chicken, fried dumplings, shallot pancakes, egg custard tarts and bubble pearl milk tea were all on offer.

Some brave souls tried the tofu and pronounced it ‘not stinky’ while others politely characterized it as ‘interesting.’ One who had seen a program on the snack found it less strong than expected. Pearl milk tea on the other hand, was widely enjoyed.

Taiwan food culture is seen as a soft power which can inform impressions of the country through this type of relaxed activity. This is the fifth time that Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau representative in the US has held an activity in the Smithsonian. Previously it also held a Taiwan night market in New York’s Grand Central Station. The event was a limited ticket only one-off event and was completely booked out.