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.
I remember showing a petite Indonesian friend a picture of the bean and asking of she knew it. I remember her literally losing here shit and explaining how amazing it was, but that it literally made your shit really stinky. Not a turn on i’m not gonna lie. The stench of the bean is a bit like methane, again not much of a turn on.
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.
Smelly beans, you may stink, but I love you a litter bit.