I throw the word “like” around a lot on this blog. I like a lot of restaurants. I like a lot of food. But what I’m really saying is, “I enjoyed it and I’ll come back…eventually.” And by eventually I actually mean “in a few weeks, months, years - whatever.” I haven’t left many restaurants with a need to return IMMEDIATELY. But every so often I’ll come across a place I fall in complete infatuation with. Let me put it this way: it’s the same obsessive feeling you get when you meet that cute guy or girl you’re just DYING to see again.
Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu, you don’t even know what you do to me.
Appropriately nestled in Toronto’s Koreatown (avoid the location in Chinatown), it’s not hard to understand the local love amassed by this Korean restaurant: delicious staple meals with a just-like-grammy appeal and a bill so low you’ll think they made a mistake.
Soon and tofu take up two words in the restaurant’s name. Logic dictates that’s what should you get. Their meals are accompanied by a parade of complimentary small side dishes that really hit the spot. I’m sure the costs are tallied into the price of the main meal, so technically they’re not free. But if you eat Korean food, you know you’re being cheated if you have to pay separately for the banchan. Remember that.
Come to me, you juicy, sour, spicy and pungent strips of napa kimchi.
Hello, crunchy strings of daikon kimchi.
Bean sprouts are generally my least favourite of the bunch, but their cold, limp strings kissed with sesame oil vanished without hesitation.
These chewy soybeans glistening with a sticky reduction of soya sauce and sugar? Totally addictive.
Finally, major points for their purple rice cooked in a stone pot they scoop and serve tableside.
Now that I’m back in Montreal (naaaooooooo), the sinus-clearing, salty and sour profile of the kimchi soon tofu ($7.53…whaaaaaat???) is but a hauntingly beautiful memory. I remember cracking and swirling a raw egg into a bubbling bowl of red-hot stew bobbing with soft bean curd and (very little) pork, beef and kimchi and taking God’s name in vain after every spoon and praying that it'd never end.
But it did.
And now, 500+ kilometers stand between Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu and I.
This must be what being cock-blocked feels like.
Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu
691 Bloor Street West | map