There are quite a few places in the South Bay area that serve this soul warming, tongue burning tofu stew called Soondubu jjigae.
The one we prefer to go to is Cho Dang Tofu. The wonderfully velvety texture of the tofu and the substantial amount that are served are reasons enough to eat there, but the more decisive element here is the banchan (side dishes).
The fact that the tofu is silky, smooth, soft should be expected from these tofu houses, but I like that the tofu here comes in bigger blocks, and the amount served seems to be a bit more than other tofu places. I prefer my tofu in larger chunks rather than in small broken pieces.
As I mentioned earlier, the key reason why we come here is the banchan. The well-balanced and distinct flavors and consistencies of the side dishes make up for the not-so-plentiful varieties. My son just loves the rectangular nori (dry lavar seaweed), and the mildly marinated bean sprouts. I enjoy the spicy pickled cucumber, and the slightly acidic pickled wakame. We always ask for seconds or thirds of these particular ones, despite the waitresses looking solemn and stoic at times.
On this occasion, I ordered the Mushroom Tofu – White (no spiciness whatsoever), while my son had the Beef Tofu – Medium spicy. I enjoy the pleasantly soft crunch of the Enoki mushroom floating on top of the tofu. My son, who used to order his tofu white, said that he much prefers the overall taste of the tofu with some spiciness.
The white rice here is served also in a stone pot like the one with the tofu, so it comes out burning hot. One definitely needs to wait a bit before digging into the piping hot rice. While most of the patrons here scoop the rice out from the hot stone pot to another bowl, I, however, actually prefer to put some of the tofu directly onto the rice in the pot, and eat the rice straight out from the hot pot (very carefully of course). With this method, the hard, crunchy rice next to the metal eventually gets soften up, and I can then scrape it off easily and eat it all without having to put liquid into it at the end.
Cho Dang Tofu: 22549 Hawthrone Blvd. Torrance, CA 90505 Phone: 310-373-7055