Saturday, June 11, 2011

원조두부촌~Wonjo Tofu House

     I love how weeks fly by so quickly, but also wish they took their time...

Having one extra day for the weekend made such a difference. My feet were better planted on the ground...this one flew by so quickly that I can't distinctly recognize everything that I've been getting involved in. Besides the time at work, the dancing, singing, and loads of love that have been exploding from me for my kids, I've been floating through this week. I have been taking a lot of walks, to clear the mind and just get my  body moving.

     Floating through my home one day I found a book the tenant before me left here, 'Life in Seocho:World's BEST CITY! World HAPPIEST CITY!' and upon reading it I found that there was a tofu house pretty close to me (there's a muk place to, next place to wander over to!!)
     The Tofu House is called 'Wonju Tofu house' and is a "Traditional tofu restaurant. This restaurant makes its own sundubu (soft tofu) from native beans  using the traditional method of using Gamasot (traditional Korean pot used to make rice or soup), which makes its tofu savory and good for the body. It is also popular as a diet food as it is low in calories."
     I decided to wander over there and check this place out, the only Tofu House I go to is all the way in 구리 (Guri!) This place is literally a stone's throw away from my apartment and located very close to 교대역 (Seoul National University of Education station.) It is traditional seating, take your shoes off, sit on a mat, eat mindfully...I wish this was supported to a higher level in the states. I feel like rushing through meals, 'the gobble and go' is far more common.
     The interior was rustic and brought you to a state of being where you want to slow down. Aside from the aprons the staff was wearing, I felt like I was in country Korea, old-style, traditional, folk Korea. The walls were covered in 한글 and traditional paintings, the tables were shiny and lacquered and the cups for water, soju, maekgoli, etc were ceramic and quaint. Aesthetically, this restaurant was winning!
the interior, I felt like I was in a folk village!! (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     Scanning the menu, there are a lot of affordable options, and vegan options! Considering its a tofu house, if there was nothing strictly veggie, there'd be an issue!! O_o# But, for you omnivores, check this place out too, lots of bbq, fish, squid...etc. There were two other parties in there while I was and they kept ordering more meat and seafood and raving about how tasty it was, I'll use them as your reference!
     Back to this blog~~the veggie options were their primarily tofu dishes, 비빔밥 (bibimbap), 전 (pancakes), 순두부 (soon dubu, ask them to omit the fish and meat, they will!), 두부김치 (dubu kimchi, fried tofu and warm kimchi...again ask for no meat and seafood, just to be safe!) and 비빔낭면(bibim nangmyeon, spicey mixed noodles.) Everything was affordable, from 5,000W (뱌뱜밥) all the was to 12,000W (두부김치.) Upon the staff's recommendation, I decided to go with the 들깨슴두부 (pronounced, dol-gae soom-dubu.) It was 8,000W and with my clarifications of just the 'what-I-don't consume' run-down, everything served was vegan!
the 들깨숨두부, and various 반찬: steamed bok choy, 김치 (kimchi), sweet soy peanuts and black soybeans, garlic steamed potatoes, rice, perilla leaves and salted turnip, and 야채전 (vegetable pancakes)  photo taken by VeganBeats
     The 들깨슴두부 was served steaming hot and bubbling. I love 들솥 (dolsot) the thick bowls that you make 찌개 in is such a work of art. It keeps things STILL cooking and endlessly hot, and when you lay a spoon in there, you can 'peel' away whatever it is cooking! The 두부 let out such a steamy lively sound when I tore my spoon around the dolsot, and released such a savory smell. I'm sure the dramatic steam made it that much more "hungry" sexy. ㅎㅎㅎ    
close up of the 들깨숨두부 (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     The 두부 was full of flavor, salt and pepper erupted from each spoonful, and because 두부 retains so much water, whenever I finished the broth, the wonderful 들솥 would cook it up more, causing more broth to appear. The 반찬 was a great match with the main dish also. Just enough balance between salty and sweet. 
     I have to admit, I've been slightly disappointed in terms of complete lay outs of meals here, there's always been a mix match or lack of planning. Too much sweet, too much salt, too much of something, or complete lack of flavor. The staff here I feel really thought  about which side dishes go best with each dish. My fellow eaters here had different plates of 반찬 served with their meals. 
     Overall, this place was really yummy. Inexpensive, vegan friendly, and the ambiance supports slow, mindful eating. I had a two hour long meal here, and enjoyed every flavor, the sizzling sounds, and the time passed by steadily. I was in my own world, and happened to be having a great meal. I felt healthier, energized, and more than pleased. I am sure to wander back here rather soon!
blurry picture of the taken by VeganBeats

원조두부촌~Wonjo Tofu House 
tel: 588-6766~5
서울 서초구 서초3동 1577-3 
How to get there:
교대역 (Seoul National University of Education Station) line 2, green circle line

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