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July 27, 2007

Sun Du Bu

Back when I was in graduate school and living in Berkeley, I used to eat Korean food quite a lot. Back then, my favorite dish was bibimbap - basically a big bowl of rice, topped with an assortment of raw, cooked, and pickled veggies, and a bit of meat or maybe tofu. You topped it with spicy sauce, mixed it together with chopsticks, and ate.

Since I started trying to eat a lower glycemic-index diet, enormous bowls of rice don't feature in my meals as much, and I haven't ventured into many Korean restaurants lately. Which is a shame, because I've been missing out on my new favorite Korean dish: sun du bu.

Sun du bu (which apparently means "soft tofu") is a hearty soup made with, well, soft tofu. I tried it this evening at the slightly oddly named Tofu & Box restaurant on N. First St. in San Jose. They have 4 kinds of sun du bu: seafood, mushroom, vegetable, and one other that I forget (probably some kind o meat?). I had the vegetable (carrots, zucchini, and onion), medium spicy.

Shortly after I ordered, the server brought me one of those weird iceberg lettuce salads with the creamy pink dressing that you always get in Asian restaurants, and a dish with an egg in it. I shook the egg gently, deduced from the sloshing sound that it was uncooked, and ate my salad.

Then a boiling hot bowl of red broth filled with chunks of tofu and vegetables arrived. The server picked up the raw egg and cracked it into the soup. I let the egg poach and the soup cool to a safe temperature, and ate some of the accompanying side dishes that came with the soup. (Cooked spinach, shredded pickled daikon, some kind of cooked or pickled bean sprout, and kimchee. And, of course, rice.) Based on what I've now learned by googling "sun du bu", I think you're supposed to actually stir the egg into the soup to thicken it, but I liked my poached egg.

So, what I ended up with was tofu and vegetables in a spicy broth with a poached egg. What's not to like? I think I could probably eat this stuff every day.

Posted by spaceling at July 27, 2007 10:35 PM


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