Wide regional and individual variations exist in manufacture and preparation. Most typically, it consists of tofu, which has been marinated in a brine made from fermented milk, vegetables, and meat for as long as several months. The brine can also include dried shrimp, amaranth greens, mustard greens, bamboo shoots, and Chinese herbs.
Stinky tofu can be eaten cold, steamed, stewed, or most commonly, fried. It is often accompanied by chili sauce. The color varies from the golden fried Zhejiang-style to the black typical of Hunan-style stinky tofu.
From a distance, the odor of stinky tofu is said to resemble that of rotten garbage or manure, even by its enthusiasts. In spite of stinky tofu's smell, most say the flavor is surprisingly mild. However there are some that think otherwise. In fact, some have been so appauled by the taste that they couldn't so much as swallow it without bringing it all back up at once. Some few people have compared it to the taste of blue cheese. It has also been compared to foie gras. In some instances the taste has even been compared to rotten meat. It is said the more it smells, the 'better' its flavor.
Stinky tofu is the unofficial national snack food of Taiwan and is universally loved. It is very commonly served on roadside stands and in night markets. It is primarily served dry (deep fried) or, less commonly, wet (with goose blood and Sichuan mala soup).
Addendum - Sìchuān málà, more commonly referred to as mala sauce, is a very popular Chinese oily and spicy sauce that was originated in the Sichuan Province of central China and used extensively in their cuisine. It has become one of the most common seasonings in Chinese cuisine, gaining popularity anywhere where there are large populations of Chinese. The term málà is a combination of two Chinese characters: "numbing" (麻) and "hot (piquant)" (辣), referring to the feeling in the mouth after eating the sauce. The sauce is used in a wide variety of cooking methods from stir-fry, stews, and soup, to being used in hot pot or as a dipping sauce. In the Sichuan and Yunnan provinces mala powder (麻辣粉; pinyin: málàfĕn) is used liberally on snacks and street foods, such as stinky tofu, fried potatoes, and barbecued meats and vegetables.
My guess is that the eaters have problems with not just stinnky tofu, but also Sichuan Mala soup if it was included in their "banquet".