Friday, August 31, 2007

Holy Chicken

After a busy but productive morning at the factory, CH and I decided to try a new Sundubu Soup shop that was recommened to me recently by JI. This dish is a spicy stew made with something which has been translated for me as "unformed tofu". That is, the tofu had not yet been pressed into the blocks as we commonly see, but instead it is a very loose mass, almost like pudding in texture. This dish is one of my favorites, and I was really surprised at this restaurant. Usually, this dish will simply be on the menu. But at this place, there were probably a dozen or so varieties to choose from! I had the mandu (dumplings) version, and CH had nakji (octopus). Here is a photo of mine, stolen from the restaurant's website:

This stew customarily comes boiling hot with a raw egg that has just been cracked into the bowl. Usually when I order it, I ask for TWO eggs in my bowl. That is one taste combination that I was surprised to discover here in Korea - eggs go really well with spicy foods. I wouldn't have thought so, but they really go well together. Anyway, at this restaurant, they have the eggs in a basket at your table. I didn't have to ask for two eggs, I just cracked two in myself.

EDIT: I almost forgot - this place had the Jangnanjeot (Salted Pollack Guts) featured in a previous post. Just to proove how tough I am, of course I had to try some. Surprisingly, it tasted just fine. Not at all what I imagined fish guts would taste like. I couldn't even tell it was fish. I only had a couple bites however, because this place prepared it really spicy. I've eaten spicier foods before, but this dish made my mouth burn. Since there were so many other better side dishes, not to mention the stew itself, I gave up on the salted pollack guts after my taste test. Naturally, this place will be one of the first restaurants I take The Stumbling Parents in October...

Speaking of the website, this place was introduced to me as a restuarant chain that began in Korea Town of Los Angeles, and has spread to Korea. JI and CH referred to it as "LA Sundubu". I found that company easily on the internet, it is called the BCD Tofu House. The letters "BCD" are initials for an area in Seoul for which the place is named. On their website, they indeed show some locations in Seoul, but not the place I visited. After further research I learned that the place where I ate was called BSD Dubu House (dubu is the Korean word for tofu). One fellow out there in cyberspace also made this observation, and commented that he wasn't sure if there was a business relationship between BCD and BSD Tofu Houses, or if BSD simply made up a similar name to fool the customers. In any event, this BSD chain is MUCH larger here in Seoul, and has a branch just 10 minutes walk from my place. I will be back.

In the same building as BSD Dubu House, there is a chicken restaurant I have seen before, whose name had me laughing in stitches. I snapped a photo of it with my cell phone. I'll have to actually eat there one day, to see if it lives up to the name.

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