Wafting down the streets around Fuzimiao (Confucius Temple), you’ll recognise it for sure; the unpleasant, unappetising stench of Chou Doufu (Stinky Tofu), bubbling away on a stick. Chou Doufu is a tourist spot specialty across the nation, making it the familiar scent that tourists now relate to travelling.
Said to have originated in Beijing during the Qing dynasty, Chou Doufu now presents itself in varying styles across the country by region. While Nanjing certainly has its own unique style for the specialty, citizens have reasoned that because it is not on the list of Nanjing Snacks, that must be the reason for banning it from Fuzimiao.
Along with other fried meat stick and snack venders, 18 Chou Doufu stalls have been shuttered, sparking outrage among locals in the area. As a reaction to heated debates and disgruntled residents, Mr. Wang Jun, Director of Qinhuai Scenic Area, attempted to smooth things over by commenting that their actions are not to outlaw Chou Doufu but “to standardize the operations by improving fume purification facilities, to create more windows, and reduce soot and odour.
Mr. Jun also states that Chou Doufu not being on Nanjing’s snack list “is not the reason for launching this rectification… Fuzimiao has a lot of non-Nanjing snacks”. In line with the Nanjing District of Qinhuai city government’s approved implementation of Fuzimiao business directives, any entity that produces large amounts of smoke, odour, noise, dust, and other environmental pollutants should be banned from neighbourhood.
Fuzimiao Qinhuai scenic zone Urban Management Bureau, Chief Mr. Zhang Wei, said there had been a number of complaints from tourists about Chou Doufu stores regarding hygiene and fume emissions leading to the entire street smelling bad, and Chou Doufu being sold in unsafe conditions.
“Especially when there are many people in the Fuzimiao scenic spot, the tourists can't walk, and standing in front of a Chou Doufu shop will need endure the smell for a long time, and this smell is not everyone's favourite”, said Wei. “In fact, this situation has been on the rise for a few years ago; from September of this year, it has been our focus.”
A shopkeeper specialising in Chou Doufu told local media that to install a set of fume purification equipment and closed windows, he will need to spend more than ￥20,000.
Mr. Wei later commented that in 2015, the National Tourism Administration had issued a warning to Fuzimiao e about the changes that were to take place. He stated that from the perspective of scenic spots, the transformation Fuzimiao has undergone over the last 2 years has significantly improved its quality.