You know how certain foods bring you nostalgia? Personally, I love nothing more than a hot bowl of spicy tofu soup with fluffy, moist rice on a freezing, winter day. It’s not everyone’s cuppa tea, but it’s some damn good comfort food. 😛 Having a spoonful of hot Korean tofu stew from Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu transports me back to my university days, when I still lived in Toronto. Soooo back to when I still had to live through -15 to -20 degree winters, hah!
But you know what, on days like those, I could always count on a sizzling hot bowl of spicy Korean tofu stew to keep me warm. My forever go-to has always been the #4 Dumpling Soon Tofu. 😍 Dumpling-soon-a-ma-whaat? Back it up, Lils. Okay, let me explain…
Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu has always been one of my favourite Asian restaurants from way back when. Situated right around the corner from the Christie subway station on Bloor Street West, you can’t miss its loud orange exterior walls when in Korea town. Some of my friends don’t even know its name, all they say is “let’s go to the orange place in Korea town” and all is understood haha!
There are only 9 items on the menu at Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu and what they’re most popular for are their silken tofu stews. Items number 1-6 on the menu are basically stews with different meats, dumplings, seafood and yes, even vegetables (for you vegetarians!) to choose from. What’s even better is that you can select the level of spiciness that you desire which ranges from:
- Extra spicy
- Regular spicy
If you’re not a stew fan, fret not! They also have three other options that won’t disappoint such as the Stone Pot Bibimbab (white rice with meat, assorted vegetables, topped with a sunny side up egg), Dukbegi Bulgogi (thin slices of marinated beef with spring onions) and Broiled BBQ beef. These three dishes are prepared as is, non-spicy (sorry, guys!).
Apart from the Stone Pot Bibimbab that comes with white rice, the other eight items on the menu come with Dolsotbab, a stone pot of deep purple rice. I always wondered what kind of special Korean rice it was… Mystery solved: it’s simply white rice mixed with black rice!
Before your main meal arrives, you are served four little side dishes called banchan in Korean. These communal side dishes are complimentary AND can be topped up continuously until you’ve had enough! All you have to do is ask. 😉
The four sides comprise of mung bean sprouts, braised sweet and sticky soybeans, Napa cabbage kimchi, and thinly sliced daikon kimchi.
My favourites are the sweet & sticky soybeans and the daikon kimchi. The only thing about eating the soybeans is that it almost becomes a game with Korean chopsticks! If you’ve ever been to a Korean restaurant, you’ll notice that the chopsticks are made of stainless steel and are totally flat. Try picking up more than one soybean at a time (pics or it didn’t happen!). 😝
When the server comes along with your mains, he* will then immediately scoop up all the rice from the stone pot into a serving bowl. He will subsequently pour some hot water onto the remaining leftover rice stuck to the stone pot and leaves the stone pot at the table. Why does he do that, you say? I always assumed the remaining water and rice combo was to be eaten at the end of the meal as a palate cleanser. Apparently, in Korean tradition, it is a way to loosen up the rice for easier cleaning and help with digestion. Killing two birds with one stone, clever zey are these Koreans!
Alright so for all these years that I’ve come, the menu has never changed nor have I ever diverted from choosing anything else but the #4 Dumpling Soon Tofu Stew! Plus, I always, always order it ‘Extra Spicy’! If the stew ain’t red, I won’t have it! Flaming red pork broth, dumplings abound with sliced beef AND you get to break a tiny egg into the stew… I mean, what’s not to love?
My dad and brother like to get the Broiled BBQ Beef dish and I can tell ya the sizzle is real! All I can say is that meat lovers will thoroughly enjoy this. Back in the day, I remember paying about CAD $8.88 for a bowl of stew? Drinks were about less than a dollar too. 10 bucks for a nice, hearty meal — jackpot!
Today, a bowl of stew from Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu will probably set you back about 12 bucks. No matter the incremental price increases over the years, I will still always come back a faithful customer every time I’m back in Toronto — snow or no snow!
Location: 691 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G 1L3, Canada
Hours: Monday – Sunday // 11am – 10:30pm
- Gets really busy during peak hours and they don’t take reservations, first come first serve basis.
- They are on Door Dash if you want food delivery BUT I must say, eating it there is best if possible.
*I’ve noticed they only hire Korean male servers here. No idea why, no matter — as long as they bring me my food!