Restaurant Review: Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu does one thing, and it does it amazingly well. Venturing south of Yonge and Finch this month would bring us to one of Korea’s most classic stews. The soon dubu jjigae (순두부찌개, soft tofu stew) here is one of the best in Toronto.

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu Photo courtsey of Thuy T. of Yelp
Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu
Photo courtesy of Thuy T. of Yelp

Despite the recent heat wave, I had a craving for something warm and hearty. My first thought was to head over to Buk Chang Dong, just down Yonge street from Finch. The walk from the Y&F corner isn’t a far one, but I always appreciate this path at the end of the meal. Beware! There’s almost always a line-up during meal times!

My Latest Experience

When I say this restaurant does tofu stew well, it definitely reflects it in their limited menu. Six out of nine items are variations of the restaurant specialty. For those who aren’t loving the tofu theme, there are other beef options and the fail-proof dolsot bibimbap (돌솥비빔밥, rice mixed with beef, veggies and spicy sauce, served in a hot stone pot).

Banchans at Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu
Banchan at Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu

We were served four different types of banchan (반찬, side dishes) – kimchi, spicy radish, sweet soybeans and bean sprouts. Though there wasn’t a lot of variety, it was still a good mix and this prepares you for the meal ahead.

Haemol soon dubu jjigae (해물순두부찌개, tofu stew with seafood) at Buk Chang Doon Soon Tofu
Haemol soon dubu jjigae (해물순두부찌개, tofu stew with seafood) at Buk Chang Doon Soon Tofu

The haemul soon dubu jjigae (해물순두부, soft tofu stew with seafood) in extra spicy is my latest go-to item on the menu. If the extra spiciness intimidates you, don’t be; I have leveled up over the years to appreciate the extra spicy heat. I’ve tried the mild version of the seafood soft tofu stew; it tastes surprisingly different, in a good way. The broth is lighter in colour and the seafood flavour really shines through.

Let’s talk about the tofu. The glorious, glorious tofu. It is always silky smooth and delicious. The tofu soaks up the heat, with a hint of the flavourful seafood. The tofu holds its shape pretty well, but it is so soft when you bite into it. In each of those tiny bowls, there’s usually more than enough tofu. I love how the stew always come out piping hot and bubbling over the edges of the stone pot.

The standard rice here is the purple rice in the hot stone pot. I prefer scoping out the rice and adding water to the pot. The cold water loosens up the burnt rice and prevents it from sticking to the clay bowl, leaving you with chewy rice with a slight burnt flavour. You can ask the waitstaff to leave the pots as is, leaving you with a crispy layer of semi-burnt rice.

Chulpan bulgogi (철판 불고기, broiled BBQ Beef)  at Buk Chang Doon Soon Tofu
Chulpan bulgogi (철판 불고기, broiled BBQ Beef) at Buk Chang Doon Soon Tofu

The chulpan bulgogi (철판 불고기, broiled BBQ Beef) was also served sizzling hot. The beef was marinated to perfection. It is slightly on the sweet side, but the sauce is absolutely delectable with the rice. They definitely don’t hold back with the meat; that’s quite a plate for one person. The bulgogi is also a good choice for sharing between 3-4 people.

Service/Atmosphere

Though the wait is usually around 15-20 minutes, once you sit down, the service is quick! The servers are usually running around the restaurant, so it’s pretty easy to catch their attention. It’s remarkable seeing them carry 3-4 bowls of purple rice in the stone pots. Talk about crazy strong arm strength!

The restaurant itself is pretty small, leaving most tables to be placed relatively close to each other. If you’re looking for a fancy ambiance, Buk Chang Dong is not your place. It is very homey with a very strong family-oriented feel to it.

Parking

Paid street parking is available along Yonge Street and is free after 9PM. I believe the restaurant has several parking spots behind the building, but it seems shady. As usual, Finch Station is a brisk 5 minutes away from the restaurant. 

Overall

Love, love, love this place! The tofu stew is amazingly delicious and the quality is very consistent. The prices are very reasonable, with each individual dish coming to under $10 (including tax and tip). Judging by the crowd, Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu is one of the more authentic Korean places.

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu has several other locations in the GTA; including Mississauga (Hurontario and Dundas), Koreatown (Bloor and Christie) and the newest location in Chinatown (Dundas and Spadina).

Just the Facts

  • What: Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu
  • Where: 5445 Yonge St, North York
  • When: 11:30AM to 10:00PM

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