Tofu has existed in China for over 2000 years and mapo tofu originated during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in 1862. A couple with the surname Chen established the Chen Xingsheng Restaurant in Chengdu. The Chengdu Records of 1909 say that the restaurant's name was modified to Chen Mapo Tofu Restaurant and it has been on the list of the 23 most famous restaurants in Chengdu during the late Qing Dynasty. The restaurant is known for popularising mapo tofu, which later spread throughout the nation. ‘Ma’ means pock and ‘po’ means elderly woman; the term mapo tofu was derived from Mrs Chen’s pock-marked face. She came to be known as Chen Mapo and cooked tofu that was known for its taste, look and smell. Today, restaurants across China serve mapo tofu but many water down the dish to make it less spicy and few have been able to maintain the traditional Sichuan flavour.