Location: 4916 Yonge Street, North York
Gamjatang (A.K.A. pork bone soup) is one of those dishes that might sound a bit intimidating on paper, since the bones in question come from the spine of the pig, which isn’t exactly a common cut of meat. But it’s so good.
(I was about to say “done well, it’s so good” but then I realized that I’ve never had a bad version of this dish. I’m sure they’re out there, but I guess it’s hard to completely mess up, because it’s always tasty.)
The version at Mapo Gamjatang was especially delicious, with a super flavourful broth and surprisingly generous (and ultra-tender) chunks of pork. Sometimes you have to work hard to find the meat on the bones in this dish, but this particular version featured a shocking amount of tasty pork. It’s delightful.
It’s a great deal, too. The regular bowl (large is an option, but trust me, regular is plenty) costs 13 bucks and comes with a generous (and tasty) assortment of banchan.
Location: 5130 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Ah, Chowhound. As a resource for discovering hidden gems, it is second-to-none. Case in point: Chodang Soon Tofu.
The place specializes in fiery red soups that come to the table in a piping hot stone bowl; it’s a roiling inferno of a soup that is pretty much guaranteed to burn your tongue. As I’ve had the soup here a couple of times (and it is quite tasty, despite the pain), I decided to get something different. I went with the Tofu Kimchi, which is a bit more expensive than the other items on the menu at $12.98 (all the soups are eight bucks).
Korean food is traditionally served with a variety of side dishes — banchan, in Korean — and they definitely don’t skimp on that here. Before the main course, we received soft, fresh tofu with a soy-sauce based dipping sauce, two different types of kimchi, bean sprouts, and a breaded, fried fish. All tasty stuff, and all free with the meal, so it’s a pretty great value.
And as it turns out, the Tofu Kimchi was more expensive because it is clearly meant to be shared. I’m not sure if the picture adequately conveys the scale of this dish, but it was massive. I got about halfway through and had to throw in the towel.
It’s a fairly simple dish; stir-fried kimchi with thin strips of pork belly and green onions, surrounded by soft, creamy tofu. It seemed a bit simple when I first started eating it, but the spicy kimchi and pork mixed with the creamy tofu turned out to be a suprisingly addictive combo.