We finally made it to the east side of Clinton Street, and we celebrated our arrival with an orgy of banchan. That’s right: the kimchi diarists finally got down with some kimchi!
This is Dan saying the “Oh” of “Oh, damn”:
We hit up Buk Chang Dong, our first authentic Korean joint on the tour. Other reputable sources have declared this to be their favourite Korean spot on Bloor. And, we can now safely say: they’re onto something.
We loved it! And not just because we’ve spent six weeks trying to eat our way east so we could finally get some Bibimbop. Well, maybe.
Buk Chang Dong, or as most people call it, “that orange Korean place”.
Now, the banchan is always the most exciting part of the Korean experience. We especially love those little brown things, which we always assumed were fermented soy beans in some sort of paste, but full disclosure: they might be something else entirely.
Anyway, Buk Chang Dong had these seriously delicious beans in full effect, and they were great. But their kimchi didn’t taste super fermented or super hot, which was a bit of a letdown (still, first hit of kimchi on our travels!).
Seriously though, you’d have to be a real jerk to find fault with banchan – it’s the ultimate bonus:
Look at all this adorable banchan!
Dan and Beth ordered the Soon tofu, which - judging from the fact that 6 of the 8 menu items were some version of Soon - is probably the house specialty.
Dan ordered the dumpling Soon tofu and Beth got hers with kimchi. You can opt for different spice levels and after some stilted debate with our server, Beth went for “regular” and Dan got “hot” (there’s an “extra hot” option too).
Both were super tasty and came with the requisite stone pot of purple rice, which the waiter ceremoniously emptied into a bowl and then filled with water:
We can’t figure out why they always do that? Are we supposed to drink the cold rice water or something? So mysterious!
At its heart, Soon tastes like a delicious chicken soup with bite. And there’s a reason they upsell the tofu so hard - it fills the bottom of the bowl and has an insanely silky texture. We probably should have skipped ahead last week and come here for Soon while we were all sick. But rules are rules!
A.J. on the other hand went with the classic and fun to say Bibimbop, which came in a sizzling stone pot with an unexpected side of Miso soup (Miso soup at a Korean restaurant? Who knew? Beth did). The blend of steamed veggies with a sprinkling of meat (we think?) and a wedge of egg proved delicious, and A.J. couldn’t get enough of the perfectly crispy rice lining the hot pot (literally, he’s not great with chopsticks).
We cleaned our bowls right down to the stone and were totally stuffed, but spent only $10 each. Needless to say, our first Korean stop did not disappoint!
Now, we’re a little worried that we’re getting overzealous after waiting so long for Korean food, and we don’t want to dole out this many snowflakes too “soon” (see that?), but Buk Chang Dong felt close enough to a full 4 snowflake scene to warrant, well: 4 snowflakes!