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How to say "too hot tofu" in Korean

Vital Information | Mar 11, 200208:18 PM

Say, So Gong Dong Tofu House, a/k/a the Korean tofu soup place a/k/a where chowhounds with dental problems go for succor.

We joined Zim and family for delicious bowls of percolating tofu soup last night. Midway through a garlic/chili high, I asked him how he finds these places. He said he saw a Monica Eng review, but I checked last night, and her review came several months AFTER Zim's first mention on In fact, I wonder if she got it from him. Yet, if the origins remain mysterious, the results remain tasty.

There are 8 varieties of tofu soup plus a few other dishes. We started with a mondo pancake scissored for us at the table and steamed dumplings. We dragged each through a soy based liquor, chunky with garlic, scallions and other flavorings, a sauce worth bottling. After some time on the appetizers, the table filled.

It is good to have the serving dish concession for Korean restaurants. So many plates arrived. First metal bowls with rice paddles, then stone crocks of rice, finally, the scalding tofu soup. But like an infomercial, there was more. A plate of raw eggs and multiple panchan (pickley things) followed.

This is as good as time as any to mention that the staff were most friendly and that there was no translation nor cultural factor. After arraying everything in front of me, they did not wait for me to stumble. Instead, they did it for me. The rice went from hot stone pot to cool metal bowl. An egg was cracked into my soup where the heat more than killed any salmonella, and some barley tea was poured over the rice left sticking to the bottom of my stone pot.

The result of all this hard work. Hot. At first, the tofu soup seemed bottomless as one could only take micro-sips, but after a while, I developed a rhythm, going from bowl (tofu) to bowl (rice) to bowl (tea soaked rice), enjoying each.

I only ate my soup, but from my eye, the variations in the 8 flavors (a mixture of meat or vegetation versions) seemed minor. The tofu and egg thickened broth are the stars, the add-ons just condiment.

If you like your stuff hot, your flavors bold, even if your gums need a rest, this is a place for you. Say So Dong Tofu House

3307 W. Brn Mawr
Chicago, IL


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