2014

Soft Tofu Stew (순두부 찌개): something for both vegetarians and meat lovers

I like eating vegetables, just not all the time.

I like eating vegetables, just not all the time.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always enjoyed meaty dishes. Whether its bits of meat inside a Korean stew dish, a plate of nice steak or kalbi dinner, or burgers and sausages fresh off the hot grill at barbeques: I love meat. Now this doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy vegetables, since I like eating salads occasionally as well as vegetable side dishes with my main meal. Nor do I have any problems with my friends who are vegetarians.

Having said that, hanging out with vegetarian friend often limits the places we can go for dinner, which is quite sad for someone like me who loves eating. There is however, some places we can go together and everyone can be satisfied: one of such places serve dishes made with tofu. Although some people aren’t a big fan of tofu, I like this nutritious and soft dish. And today’s posting is about a delicious Korean dish made with tofu, called ‘Soft Tofu Stew’ (순두부 찌개).

Soft tofu!

Soft tofu!

First off, ‘soft tofu’ means a tofu that hasn’t been pressed and hardened. In comparison, regular ‘tofu’ goes through a soaking, pressurizing and baking process that gives it more firm texture and rectangular shape compared to soft tofu. The tale behind soft tofu goes back to about 400 years ago during Josen Dynasty’s King Gwanghae’s era. Huh Yup, who was the father of famous Korean writer Huh Gyun (who wrote the popular story “The Legend of Hong Kil Dong: 홍길동전) and renown female poet Huh Nan Sul Hun (who’s fame reached across Korea, China and Japan), has been (dis)positioned in Gangneung region (강릉) after a violent factional strife in the King’s court. The story tells how the spring water in front of Huh Yup’s house was very delicious, so that he used it to process beans and used clean sea water as seasoning to make soft tofu for personal consumption. After the words about this delicious tofu began to spread, Huh Yup is said to have attached his pseudonym (호) “Cho Dang” (초당) to the tofu, which is how today’s famous soft tofu brand Cho Dang Soft Tofu (초당순두부) came to be.

Besides being delicious and easy to eat due to its soft texture, soft tofu has many other health benefits to rave about.
a)    Skin beauty
•    Soft tofu contains plenty of Tocopherol which helps to smoothen the skin, as well as being an effective anti-aging agent
b)    Anticancer effects
•    Soybeans contain Genistein which helps to prevent cancers in the breast, ovaries, lungs, and colons
c)    Diet
•    Plenty of proteins in the beans to help muscle formation, and since soybean protein contains no cholesterol making it a popular diet food
d)    Intestinal function improvement
•    Plenty of fiber to help strength intestines and prevent constipation
e)    Effective against anemia (빈혈)
•    Contains lots of iron, which is great against anemia.

Having said all that, here’s some places in Toronto you could visit to try out some Soft Tofu Stew for yourselves!

The picture is for the North York location. 5445 Yonge St, Toronto, ON/Christie location address: 691 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON

The picture is for the North York location. 5445 Yonge St, Toronto, ON/Christie location address: 691 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON

Location #1 & 2 – Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu  (북창동 순두부, 1 near Finch station and 1 in Christie Korea Town)

Soft tofu stew from North York location

Soft tofu stew from North York location

This place is a Soft Tofu specialty place. And as such, they make delicious stew with variations (I personally like combination or soy-bean paste-된장-version best), and they also come with a stone-pot bowl of multigrain rice which goes fantastically well with the stew! For those of you who can’t eat spicy food, you can also control the level of spiciness with the soft tofu stews.

List of prices and menu items. Simple and sweet.

List of prices and menu items. Simple and sweet.

Taste: 4/5 (any of the soft tofu stew dishes are great, especially with the stone bowl rice.)
Price: 3.5/5 (One soft tofu stew comes with bowl of rice and side dishes, a full meal for just $9 before tip)
Accessibility: 3/5 (both locations are near subway stations. Parking is a little difficult however.)
Others: n/a

That’s the end of today’s posting. There is this Asian proverb that goes, “Fight fire with fire” (이열치열). Summer times are fast approaching, so why not try fighting the hot weather by enjoying some nice hot soft tofu stew?

Until my next posting, bon appétit!

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