Lannae's Food and Travel

I hope you like my food and travel blog.

February 17, 2008

Tofu House - Yum

I thought I did not like Korean food. I have had only a few dealings with Korean food, and it has all been kind of bad in the past. There was a place I spent a mint on, but it is now closed, and the beef was tough shards of boil meat that had the texture of a rubber tire, and it was flavorless. There wasn't enough sides and sauces I could put on the destroyed beef to make it work. That was 10 years ago, it was a gross meal, and I left frowning, and I did not try another Korean restaurant until 3 years ago. Again, the quality of the food was disgusting, and the pork that we got was nothing more than a food distributor pork cutlet, deep fried, and then ladened in a sweet brown sauce that overwhelmed everything. It was gross too. I had higher hopes for this 2nd Korean restaurant because I know the owners, they are from Korea, and have been in the restaurant business both in Asia and the USA for decades, and this was their 1st Korean venture in the USA.

Fast forward today, and we were invited to a birthday dinner at SDG Tofu House on Antioch Pike. This is where I discovered that I ACTUALLY LOVE KOREAN FOOD! I love the side dishes, I love dried fish, I love the tofu soup and I love the sauces!

eggs for the soup

We were so lucky to be invited to a birthday party dinner for a new friend of ours. She wanted to go to the Tofu House for her birthday dinner. Thank you dear new friend for choosing such a tasty restaurant for your birthday!

The food here at the Tofu House is a limited menu. There are a few meat items, and a few styles of soups, and then there are a combo of the meats and soups. I like the limited menu because that means that this family owned business only has to work on a few dishes and get them right. I got a beef short rib dish in combination with a tofu soup with everything in it. The soup arrived in a stone bowl that has been super heated in the oven before being filled with soup. The soup goes into the bowl and the bowl is then served.

my soup with shrimp eyes looking out

I grabbed my camera to show you how the soup bubbles at the table due to the really hot stone bowl. I saw this once on another's blog, Cooknegr. I was intrigued because I have never seen soup just bubbling away hot like that before. I thought that I would have to go to California where Cooknegr lives, and have him tell me where he got the soup, and I would go there to try boiling hot soup.

soup served in boiling hot stone bowls

I was happy to find out that a little local restaurant, the SGD Tofu House had this soup. The way to eat the soup is to NOT TOUCH THE BOWL, it is really hot. The other trick is to take one of the eggs, and drop it into the boiling hot water and poach the egg to make the soup really rich and perfect for a winter's day.

dried salted fish (hom ha (chi.), jagal chi (kor.))

The other think I liked about Tofu House were all the side items included in the price of the entree. They had various side dishes included sweet-savory sauced boiled peanuts, daikon in a spicy red sauce, pickles in a spicy sauce, kim chi, and dried small fish. The small dried fish are like dried anchovies, they are only about one cm long, and are eaten head and all. The salty preserved fish flavor is outstanding, and an acquired tasted. As a child, I had some of these dried fish on occasion, but not often. I really like the flavor and texture, but I have not had these little fish for about 25 years. Tasting these little fish took me back to my childhood when my mom would make a simple dinner of veggies, rice, and a little bit of the dried fish for flavor.
kim chi

The one side dish that I thought I would have more of a reaction to, was the kim chi. With the various flavors of the soup, meats, daikon, dried fish, pickles and peanuts, the kim chi took a back seat. Kim chi seems to be the best know side dish of Korean food traditions, and this kim chi was tasty. But because all the other foods were so spectacular in my mind, the highly flavored kim chi just faded to the background.

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At 2/18/08, 2:10 PM, Blogger Eric and Katie said...

That place looks really interesting. We have been hesitant to try Korean joints because they seem very meat oriented. But this might be the perfect option for us. I had a Korean roomate in college and he used to share the beef dishes his mom made for him...which I might say is some of the finest marinated beef I have ever tasted.

At 2/18/08, 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you crack the raw egg into the soup?

At 2/18/08, 2:44 PM, Blogger lastmango2 said...

I was just there last Monday!
Love the blog...keep telling us where you go.

At 2/18/08, 6:25 PM, Blogger Lannae said...

Hi Eric and Katie, I think that there are plenty of hearty soups made with veggies, seafood and tofu that would be great for a veggie eater. Also, there are the eggs to put into the boiling soup. I bet you could bring your own egg for you soup, if you would want to. I was lucky that I was with a bunch of foodies who helped me pick out a meal that would work for me.

Anon: Yes. The soup is in a really hot stone bowl that keeps the soup boiling. The egg poaches in no time, and the yolk adds to the rich broth. I did see some people skip the egg, and just eat the soup. I have never had soup like this before, it was fun!

Hi LastMango2, you were there too? What did you eat? Is the food really good? I think so. Thank you for checking into my blog, and I will for sure tell you where I eat!

At 2/19/08, 11:44 AM, Blogger Chebbles' Mama said...

I can't wait to get some good kim chi again -- I LOVE all of those side dishes that just automatically come with Korean meals. Hub-D won't darken the door of a Korean restaurant ever again, having experienced the same thing you did, originally. But I am nuts about it!

At 2/20/08, 9:13 AM, Blogger winedeb said...

These dishes look great! I love the shrimp eyes, I think! We have a new Thai restaurant that just opened up around the corner. I never think to take the camera when I go to dinner. Must put that on my list! Great photos!

At 2/20/08, 4:11 PM, Blogger Lannae said...

Hi Cheb's mom, come on down to Nashville, and we'll go! For the Hub-D, he can watch the kids while we eat all the yummy side dishes. So, have you heard that spicy foods like kim chi might get contractions started?

Hello WineDeb, Ooo, do tell about the Thai restaurant! And, it looked like you had a great time with fam from the snow belt.

At 2/29/08, 6:38 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

I've found that I like Korean food, too, although I'm still not too familiar with what many of the dishes actually are. But we have a good Korean place here in town. I've only gone the once, but I do want to go back and try more dishes. We got a lot of beautiful little sides that I liked, the time we went. Very colorful, and tasty. It is amazing how you can get some ethnic food you're not familiar with that's not cooked by a very good chef/cook and think you don't like it, only to find out, once you have it made by someone who knows how, that it's delicious.

At 3/1/08, 2:48 PM, Blogger Lannae said...

Hi Lisa, the side dishes are so fun, aren't they. I am so happy to finally know I really like Korean food because of chef/cooks at this sweet little restaurant. I am so thankful to them.


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