Saturday, April 3, 2010

What a Load of Garbage

"What a load of garbage!" said Amber, looking at a cargo manifest on her datapad.

 She was right. There was, quite literally, a large collection of refuse in the cargohold of the Beekeeper III, an Arbitrator-class cruiser I had just recovered from a Minmatar station near Rens. The Beekeeper and its fetid cargo had been rotting away for more than a year after I had taken a sightseeing cruise around Heimatar, looking for salvage from the garbage dumps strewn across that failing state.

Picking up some of the garbage and hauling it back to station seemed like a good idea at the time... No, really, it did. I had given some thought to going into drug manufacturing, and the unique cocktail of toxic chemicals, rusting metals, and infectious waste one finds at a garbage dump, when mixed with the appropriate quantities of lime mykoserocin gas, produces the precursor of the Synth Frentix Booster, the drug that overachieving parents give their ADHD-afflicted children and capsuleers take when they need to focus on hitting targets at extremely long ranges.

Drug manufacturing seemed like too much hassle for the reward, so I dropped the project and forgot about the Beekeeper and its cargohold of putrid-smelling garbage, until now.

"Ah, the smell," Amber said, holding her nose and retching. "Why did you bring it here, you ass? Did you need something to remind you of home?" She turned and ran from the hangar before I could respond.

It took me a moment before I realized she was right. The smell did remind me of something from home: chou dofu, which translates from the old tongue as "stinky tofu." I have fond childhoood memories of waking up in my parents' urban flat on Khanid Prime I to the pungent vapors of chou dofu. The stench would waft through my windows from the streets below, where vendors sold their wares to hungry workers walking to the Metro for the morning commute.

Non-Khanid typically identify three distinct smells in chou dofu: 1) sun-baked garbage, like you'd find in a dumpster behind a restaurant, 2) three-day old underwear worn by a man suffering from crotch rot, 3) shit. But for any true Khanid, it's a little slice of home.

Now, Roc Wieler is the master chef among us capsuleers, and I wouldn't dream of trying to ape the sheer awesomeness of his recipes on a regular basis, but I'd like to share just this one with you all. So, with apologies to Col. Wieler:

Chou Dofu
(makes 12 pieces)

  • 1 bucket of pure soy milk
  • 1/8-1/4 cup iodized salt
  • 12 one-inch cubes of firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp hot pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp sesame or canola oil
  • 1 cup pickled cabbage

  1. Fill large bucket with pure soy milk. Let sit outside for several weeks, until it changes from pure white to a moldy, gray color. By this point, it should smell pretty bad.
  2. Season to taste with salt.
  3. Place tofu in brine for 3-6 hours. (Note: Do NOT leave in brine for more than six hours.)
  4. Heat oil in wok; add hot pepper flakes to taste.
  5. Fry marinated tofu chunks in oil until golden.
  6. Remove tofu from wok and place on paper towel.
  7. Transfer tofu to plate; garnish with pickled cabbage; serve with soy sauce and hot pepper oil.

Serves 2 hungry Khanid


  1. Chou Dou Fu... used to cook that in my apartment and neighbours called the fire brigade complaining for burnt wires. This happened TWICE in 2 different apartments.

    But frankly, it REALLY does smell like sweet garbage.

  2. I ordered it at our local Taiwanese noodle joint years ago, just to see what all the fuss was about. All the regulars at this place sniffed the scent, took one look at me (a decidedly non-Asian fellow) ordering chou dofu, and immediately ordered some for themselves. I think the dish made them pine for home.

  3. How is the chance that, if i read only 2 blogs of EVE capsulers from different websources at very different times, the latter is refering to the former, meaning Roc Wieler epic commanding officer. ^^
    Nice bibliography!
    Well, aiming Private War part III :D
    See you.