Tag Archives: pork

Beast

Crispy Pork Hocks from Beast
Location:  96 Tecumseth Street, Toronto
Websitehttp://thebeastrestaurant.com/

I’ve actually written about Beast before, on Serious Eats, where I raved about the Beastwich.  But I have to rave again — the Crispy Pork Hocks at Beast were so damn good that I felt compelled to bring this blog out of semi-hiatus so I could talk about them.  Immediately after eating them, I was hit by a powerful compulsion: I need to tell someone about this.  I need to tell everyone about this.

The hock — the part of the pig where the foot attaches to the leg, usually served as one big, unwieldy hunk of pork, bone and all — has been streamlined by Beast into convenient little cubes of crispy, porky goodness.  It has been perfected.

Each cube is maybe an inch-and-a-half square, with an amazingly crispy, crunchy exterior, and a rich, perfectly cooked interior of tender, decadently fatty pork.  I’m not even sure I can put into words how amazingly good this was.

Seriously, look at this and tell me you don’t want to eat this right this second:

Crispy Pork Hocks from Beast

That layer of crispy, crunchy amazingness is just so incredibly satisfying, and the interior is the perfect combination of extravagant fattiness and fork-tender pork.  You might think it looks too fatty, but trust me, it’s not too fatty.

It’s served with a thick, sweet variation on soy sauce called kecap manis that kind of reminded me of hoisin sauce; it worked amazingly well with the pork.  It also comes with two eggs cooked how you want them, crispy potatoes, toast, and a fairly generous pile of zingy kimchi.

I don’t want to over-sell this, but I think it might be one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.  This is not a drill.  Drop whatever the hell you’re doing right now and get yourself to Beast.  If they’re not open yet, just camp out and wait.  Because who cares what else is going on when something this good exists in the world and you haven’t tried it yet.

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Chodang Soon Tofu

Chodang Soon Tofu - tofu kimchi
Location: 5130 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Website: None

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.

Chodang Soon Tofu - the menu Chodang Soon Tofu - the restaurant Chodang Soon Tofu - tofu kimchi Chodang Soon Tofu - fried fish Chodang Soon Tofu - kimchi Chodang Soon Tofu - fresh tofu