Cheap Eat of the Week: the tofu stew at Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu
By Gizelle Lau
A cure for what ails you (Image: Gizelle Lau)
When it comes to fighting off biting cold temperatures this time of the year, a visit to Toronto’s Koreatown at Christie and Bloor is always the perfect solution. When the mercury drops to -15 degrees, just hop into one of a handful of restaurants like Owl of Minerva, Tofu Village or Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu and you’ll find hordes of hungry students, local residents and even tattooed hipsters all huddled over hot bowls of Korean dishes like pork bone soup, kimchi stew or bibimbap.
At Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu, the simple menu features just nine items. A few of them are Koreatown staples, like bulgogi or a stone pot of bimbimbap, but the bulk of the menu pays homage to the traditional Korean dish, soondobu jjigae, or soft tofu stew. Get any of the six options for $7.53, based on your preferred stew contents: kimchi with beef and pork, seafood or vegetable. A spicy scale takes your stew from “white” to extra spicy, which will get you a bright neon-red broth.
The medium or spicy vegetable soon tofu is my go-to. Served at your table in a heated ceramic bowl, the contents bubble like Mount Doom’s fiery chasm of lava in Mordor. Inside, creamy and tender blocks of tofu sit in a spicy soup base with mushroom, zucchini, broccoli and onions. Break the raw egg into the broth while it’s still bubbling and stir while a waiter prepares your dolsotbap, a stone bowl of purple multi-grain rice.
The spicy stew is best when nursed over cheerful conversation while snacking on the Korean appetizers like soybeans, kimchi or bean sprouts.
Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu, 691 Bloor St. W., 416-537-0972