Tofu Cabin

After wandering about san mateo county, we met up with A and E to have some suburban korean fare. In a very unassuming stripmall in San Mateo, we went to the Myung Dong Tofu Cabin. A and E get take out from there regularly, and they know one of the ladies who works there, who totally takes care of them.
It’s a low key spot. Not particularly attractive. They do have pits in the tables so you can cook your own meat. We didn’t cook any of our own meat this time.
Our beautiful array of banchan. Starting from 12 o’clock: kimchi (meh), mystery vegetable (good), seaweed salad (good), bean salad (good, but the biggest beans I’ve ever seen used in this dish), radish kimchi (awesome), fish cake salad (good), and japchae in the middle (ok, it was too much noodles, not enough anything else).
So the place calls itself tofu cabin so I guess they specialize in soondubu. E was the only one who actually got one, and he got the mushroom one. Why does soondubu always look like a cauldron of hot firey death? It was good! And everybody got a bowl of red rice, or purple rice, or whatever you want to call it.
A got the dolsot bibimbap. Around my parts, it’s usually not served with a raw egg on top, but here it was. Here’s a funny thing. They don’t serve bibimbap here and give you a little bowl of kochujang. They have bottles of kochujang on the table. So A never knew that she was supposed to (if she wanted to) put kochujang in this when she mixes it all up. She ate it plain, and I also tasted it plain, and it still tasted great.
J got some kalbi. And while he liked it, it solidified to him that he’s just not into ribs. He doesn’t get the hype. It’s too much work and too much fat for him. Good to know for the future.
I got the yukaejang, which was a special for the night. It also always looks like hot firey death. Man, this was particularly spicy. It’s supposed to be spicy, and it was shockingly spicy. But I managed. It tasted great, but for me, it needed more substance. There wasn’t enough of the shredded beef or other stuff in it. It left me hanging for more!The dish of the evening was the spicy rice cake with beef, or bulgogi ddukbokkum. Ok, so let me just say, that in all my years of eating korean food, I’ve never had this dish before. Never. Never at home or in someone else’s home, nor in a restaurant. I remember awhile back, A had come to Philly and she mentioned wanted a spicy rice cake dish. So we went and got ddukbokki. While she liked it, it wasn’t what she wanted. THIS was what she wanted! And no wonder I couldnt get it for her, I didn’t know it existed! It basically consists of the sliced rice cake and bulgogi, in a sweet and somewhat spicy sauce. But the sauce is not at all like the ddukbokki sauce. And hence, the confusion between the dishes. Everybody loved this. I loved this. I want to be able to get this at home now! Damn it! Someone, please help me find this!

Service was ok. You know how I feel about service at korean restaurants… don’t expect much. But because the one lady knows A and E, she took really good care of us. She even refilled a bunch of our banchan dishes. I’ll go back just for the rice cake dish alone! But all in all, a solid korean meal.

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