The stinky bean! When traveling around Sarawak I was introduced to a bunch of strange foods, flavors and indeed smells. It was of course my first dalliance with Durian, but I was to learn that durian was not to be the stinkiest part of my journey, that honor was to go to a special bean.
Stink bean, also known as parkia speciosa, sataw (สะตอ), petai, peteh, bitter bean,or simply stinky beans is widely consumed in south-east Asia and is seen as quite the prestige commodity.
And apparently it makes your shit smell. More on that morsel later.
So we’ve established that it is very prestigious and stinks like shit, but does the street food guy think it is nice?
How to eat stinky beans?
The beans are inspiringly peeled and then cooked, with there being lots of different options for dishes that include the stinky methane bean.
A thai style curry often with shrimp that can being sexed up with with some stinky beans. Gaeng Satow is one of my favorite foods in the region.
Boiled stinky beans
Beans are built to be boiled, so why not boil s stinky bean? This is probably the most legitimate way to eat the stinky bean and my word does it bring out the flavour.
Pickled stinky beans
For those of you that follow me you will know I do love a pickle! I am particularly keen on pickled eggs, but have also taken to pickling things in brine. Smelly beans pickled in brine (salt water) are amazing, a little rubbery but very flavoursome.
These are just a few ways to eat it….
Oh and Stinky Beans are good for you
Who knew? But it seems like anything that smells bad is obviously good for you. Apparently the beans are full of natural energy and can even ward against heart attacks.
How does it taste though?
As we have said it comes in a variety of forms, so there is no one size catch all to how the stinky bean tastes. When boiled it kind of masks the smell somewhat, and what you get is a bean that is extremely rich in flavour. It is thus usually a compliment to a dish, rather then the dish in its entirety.
The pickled stinky bean on the other hand is another case entirely. Ever eaten a picked garlic? Garlic is amazing, but think how potent and gassy pickled garlic is. Pickled stinky bean takes this toa whole new stratosphere. This one is defiantly not for the faint of heart. Still though well worth a try.
How stinky is the bean?
I remember showing a petite Indonesian friend a picture of the bean and asking if she knew it. I remember her literally losing here shit (no pun intended) and explaining how amazing it was.She then decided to explain in great detail how it also made your shit smell really bad, like really really bad. Not a turn on I am not gonna lie. The stench of the bean is a bit like methane, or fart as you might say.
And whilst I found said comment a little gross, the little lady was not wrong. The stinky bean is a bit smelly when in bean form, but really smelly once it has donethe circuit through your guts.
Think of the worst hangover shit you have taken, beers, sprits, a kebab and then multiply by ten. This will get you close to the affects of the stinky bean on your bowel movements.
Smelly beans, you may stink, but I love you a litter bit.