The cuisine of Anhui has a rich history and features numerous well-known dishes, like braised bamboo shoots, pickled nigisu, and stewed duck with eight spices. Among these, tofu with hair is praised as a regional speciality.

Hairy tofu has the "appearance" of being stale and mouldy (Photo: China discovery). 


White in color, tofu with hair has a dense layer of fluffy hair covering it. It is fermented in the old-fashioned way, which gives it a strong smell that some diners find repulsive. However, a lot of individuals assert that the tofu with hair tastes even better when it has a strong aroma.

This dish's distinctive quality is the high nutritional content of the hair. The tofu's plant protein undergoes fermentation during which time it is changed into amino acids that are advantageous to human digestion. The covering of hair also gives the fried tofu a crispier texture and more flavor.

Depending on the color of the hair, there are four different types of tofu with hair: cotton, feather, mouse, and rabbit hair. Cotton hair and rabbit hair are both white, however feather hair is light purple and mouse hair is gray. The temperature and climate have an impact on hair quality as well.

Hairy tofu typically has a white coat (Photo: China discovery). 

The artisan must be skillful and meticulous from the very beginning of the manufacturing procedure in order to manufacture tofu with hair successfully. To make the soybeans sour, they must first be cleaned, mashed into a paste, and then steeped in a solution of soy milk and water. The artisan begins the fermentation process after the tofu has been created.

Tofu with hair is kept in a dark, well-ventilated area at a temperature of roughly 20 degrees Celsius. Depending on the weather, this process normally takes three days to a week. Often, rapeseed oil is used to preserve tofu with hair.

The use of a lot of oil and cooking methods including braising, steaming, and stewing define Anhui cuisine. As a result, tofu with hair is cooked by either frying or braising it with a variety of flavor-enhancing spices like chilli powder, salt, white wine, onions, and ginger.

Tofu with hair is processed with a variety of spices to improve the flavour (Photo: Vice). 
The most well-liked dish is fried tofu. The outside of this dish is said to be crispy, yet the inside is still soft and smooth (Photo: China discovery). 

Tofu with hair, sometimes known as "Chinese cheese," is a well-known delicacy that draws a lot of tourists despite its unpleasant flavour and appearance.