Last Thursday night we had dinner at Pyung Chang Tofu House in Oakland. From the outside it looked empty, but upon walking in, I realized the restaurant was almost full. My dining companions were late in getting there, so I sat over 30 minuts and waited for their arrival. I am not sure if my taking up a whole table and not ordering anything had any negative effect on our dining experience, but I did feel like we were given a different treatment because we weren't Korean (almost all other diners were).
All that aside, the food was worthy the wait. This restaurant does not serve Korean bbq, instead they specialize in tofu soups and stews. We ordered their house tofu soup, pork flavor, combination seafood soup, Korean pancake, bul go gi, and stone steamed rice.
Both of the soups were excellent. A small crock each, both soup had flavorful broth base with soft silken tofu as the main ingrident. The pork flavor had ground pork and some vegetable, while the seafood had a bite of different kind of seafood, shrimp, oyster, fish etc. Even though the soups looked the same, they had complete different flavor. Neither were spicy hot, in fact they were very mild. I'm not sure if that's the ususal way, or they thought since we weren't Korean we wouldn't want it hot, our waitress didn't bother asking us.
Don't bother with the pankcake and the bul bo gi. Both were really dissappointing. The pancake was greasy and bland. It reminded me of a Chinese egg fooyoung (not something I would order anyway) And the bul bo gi was not bbq, it seems more like boiled beef on top of some onions served on a sizzling skillet.
I saw other table having rice served in big stone bowls and after the rice was scooped out, the waitress later came to pour water into the bowl to make a rice soup of some sort. I think the rice leftover stuck to the stone bowl would make a sizzling rice soup of some sort. It looked so interesting that I ordered some of stone steamed rice too. But she didn't come do the water thing for us. Again, is it because we weren't Korean?
I definitly want to go back again to try the other flavor of soups, and maybe one of the big stews.
4701 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, 510-658-9040