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Soy Tofu in La Palma specializes in soondubu—what’s perhaps the best known Korean dish after kalbi—the food equivalent to warm socks, a crackling fireplace, and a cozy robe rolled into one. As is the custom at all Korean restaurants that specialize in it, Soy Tofu gives it to you boiling hot in a heavy gauge iron cauldron. And it’s not just boiling, it’s sputtering like the rivers of Hades. The minute it comes out, you crack an egg into it, spooning the silken slips of soy custard to bury the yolk so that it will eventually poach to a soft-boiled state. In the meantime, you sip and slurp, the curds disintegrating into nothing in your mouth, washed away by another spoonful of the chile-red soup. As you do, your core temperature immediately inches away from hypothermia. You dribble a little of the elixir to soak into a bowl of rice, take a few more nibbles of the complimentary side dishes called panchan, helping yourself to jiggly chap chae noodles here, a cooling potato potato salad there, and then, a bracing hit of garlicky kimchi to finish.
It's cold out. Rainy, in fact. The wind pricks at your face as though made of daggers of ice, and you can't remember the last time your toes moved. What you crave is what you want every winter: soft tofu soup, or soondubu. The antidote. The... More »
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