I like many Korean dishes and one of my favourites is gamjatang. It literally means potato soup but I think of it as the Korean version of bak kut teh (Singapore/ Malaysia pork bone soup).
Most Korean restaurants in Toronto have gamjatang in their menu - not surprising since its main ingredients, potatoes and pork are abundant in Ontario, Canada.
I checked into Tofu Village on Bloor Street today for my gamjatang fix as I have not tried this Korean restaurant in Toronto's Koreatown before. I last had gamjatang 2 years ago in 2017.
Many Korean students studying in University of Toronto since the 1950s chose to live along the stretch of Bloor Street within walking distance from their school, turning it into Toronto's Koreatown. The students' wives set up little eateries along Bloor Street, earning Koreatown restaurants the reputation for authentic home cooked style Korean food.
Gamjatang and bak kut teh are similar in that they were both invented by port workers (in Singapore and Port Klang here in Southeast Asia, and in Incheon Port in Korea). But, whereas pork ribs in bak kut teh is a cut of pork, gamjatang uses the spine bone which is a discard. Of course, spine bones are no longer discards nowadays as gamjatang is a mainstream dish now, just like once thrown away fish heads are prized today for curry fish head.
Picking out the soft meat, fat and tendons from between the bone crevices is part of the fun of eating gamjatang. At Tofu Village, the fresh pork tasted naturally sweet with subtle underlying porkiness. There's lots of meat to eat, if we work at it 😄
There were a couple of soft, near crumbling chunks of potatoes.
There were crushed perilla seeds but no perilla leaves (a type of mint). A kind of leafy Chinese mustard green was used instead.
The bones and potatoes with crunchy bean sprouts sit in a bowl of fiery looking soup which tasted sweet and savoury with a rather robust spicy hot sting in the aftertaste. The flavours were well balanced and I like it.
Gamjatang is finger licking food in that the best way to enjoy it is with our hands and fingers.
Information for you 👌 I like Tofu Village's gamjatang because the ingredients are fresh, all the sweet, savoury and spicy flavours are present and well balanced. The restaurant is simply furnished and clean. Service is attentive and friendly. At CDN13.50 before tax and tips, price is slightly higher than the cheapest gamjatang places but is still reasonable.
I like gamjatang because it is so tasty, filling and well balanced nutritionally, especially with all the banchan (side dishes). It is an affordable, convenient yet complete one dish meal. Here are the Toronto gamjatang places that I have tried 👈 click
Restaurant name: Tofu Village
Address: 681 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M6G 1L3
GPS: 43°39'50.0"N 79°25'00.1"W 🌐 43.663886, -79.416702
Nearest TTC station: Christie
Tel: (647) 345-3836
Hours: 11:00am - 10:30pm
Date visited: 9 Jun 2019