Went to explore downtown Toronto's Korea Town today. The Korean enclave stretches along Bloor Street West roughly between Grace Street and Bathurst Street.
The giant bargain store Honest Ed's is a landmark of Korea Town at the junction of Bloor West and Bathurst. Sadly, Honest Ed's closed it's doors for the last time on New Year's Eve 2016, to make way for yet another mega condo development. Such a fate will not be the last of old landmarks in Toronto, as demand for homes continue to grow in the city.
I walked up and down Korea Town, noting down the restaurants with the most customers and longest queues. My first choice were the below-the-social-media-radar, hole-in-the-wall overworked auntie 아주머니 shops. But, they were all continuously full house and overstretched (on a Sunday).
As we were too hungry by 3pm, we had to settle for any popular restaurant that can accept us - hence, Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu. (Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu has outlets in Canada, USA and even in Bangkok. Hope to learn more about this brand which is mainly based in Canada.)
It turned out we were not disappointed at all 😄
Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu was extremely busy during lunch but the crowd tapered off a bit by 3pm. BCD Soon Tofu is popular with U of Toronto students which is 30 minutes walking distance from here.
The friendly young men taking orders, clearing tables and serving were extraordinarily efficient, so table turn over was very fast. BCD staff move with the energy of K-pop bands 😄
Two of us, we had a Soybean Soon Tofu and a Beef Bulgogi Soup. Both of us had spicy soup as it was cold and wet outside in Springtime Toronto 😄
Both meals came with a set of four side dishes - pickled radish, kimchi (of course), bean sprouts and stewed soy beans.
We liked the side dishes a lot, especially the kimchi which was savoury-sourish-sweet and crunchy juicy. Very tasty with a tinge of spiciness and very appetising.
They were very generous with the side dishes. When we asked for top up of side dishes, one staff immediately cleared away the small empty dishes and another landed a new set of side dishes on our table - very politely and all in 10 seconds flat from taking our order.
The Soybean Soon Tofu came bubbling and steaming hot in a deep stone bowl. It stayed warm throughout our meal.
With the soft, smooth tofu, there were thin beef slices, zucchini and a mussel. We asked for it to be extra spicy - it tasted savoury-sweet with a spicy aftertaste. A bit of spicy kick but nothing overwhelming. The tofu soup was delicious.
The savoury-spicy Bulgogi Soup had more intense flavours than the tofu soup. There was a generous amount of thin grilled beef slices inside. Love this beefy spicy soup and finished it all up to the last drop (as we did to the tofu soup too).
Both our meals came with rice in a hot stone pot. The rice was tenderly firm with a slight nuttiness. I like the interesting texture. The rice was clean tasting and naturally sweet. The slight purplish tint came from a bit of black rice.
I am told Koreans eat their rice by dunking it into the spicy soup. Woohoo, it was indeed tasty 😃
After the staff scooped the rice from the stone pot into our bowl, he poured some cold water into the hot stone pot. At the end of our meal, we could scrape the slightly caramelised rice crust off the base and sides of the stone pot. The rice had a subtle crisp and a toasty taste, much like the Cantonese style of clay pot rice. Nice! 😋
Everything is eaten. Nothing is wasted 😄
👉 Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu serves no frills, delicious Korean style meals. It was hearty and very satisfying for a Korean food novice like me and the pricing was also very reasonable. Our bill came to CDN23 plus taxes (tips extra).
Restaurant name: Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu
Address: 691 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G (at the junction of Bloor West and Clinton)
GPS: 43°39'49.7"N 79°25'01.4"W | 43.663794, -79.417059
Tel: (416) 537-0972
Hours: 11:00am to 10:30pm
Date: 26 Mar 2017