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시골손두부
Nov 22, 2019

Korea is a country rich in history.  From the different dynasties that used to rule Korea to the hardships caused by the Japanese occupation, Koreans have been through a lot.  However, one thing that has always remained a staple in Korean culture, is food. Korean cuisine has evolved over time and is these days arguably under the heavy western influence as Korean culture becomes more and more popular.  However traditional Korean food is still possible to find- if you know where to look. And what better place to do so than nearby one of Korea’s most important museums, Independence Hall.

Located about 6 kilometers away from this influential site you can find a restaurant named 시골손두부.  This place has been family owned and operated for over thirty years and is famous for one thing. Tofu. Simple, healthy and delicious.

The Food

They serve their homemade tofu in a few different ways.  순두부 (Tofu soup), 두부김치 (tofu and stir-fried kimchi), and their most popular dish, 두부전골 (tofu hot pot). They also serve 김치찌개 (kimchi soup) and 청국장, a fermented soybean soup.

The first dish we ordered was the 두부김치.  It was prepared using aged kimchi fried to perfection.  It had a good amount of spice to it without being overpowering.  The kimchi was served with four large slices of house-made tofu, soft but firm.  The unadorned taste of the tofu paired nicely with the kimchi.

The second dish was the 두부전골, a large pot filled with tofu, mushrooms, green onions, zucchini and peppers, all stewed together in a spicy yet clean-tasting broth. The meal was paired with an impressive array of self-served side dishes including kimchi, radishes kimchi, bean sprouts, fish cakes, spinach, seaweed and most importantly, okara.

Okara (비지)

Okara is the leftover, insoluble parts of the soybeans that remain unfiltered when making tofu. It has a bit of a fishy smell to it and on when eaten by itself tastes pretty bland and gritty. It isn’t commonly found in Korean cuisine but is a staple here at 시골손두부 and can be enjoyed a couple of different ways.

 The first way is to eat it with some of the side dishes.  First, take a  piece of Perilla (깻잎) and put it on your plate.  Next, place a big spoonful of okara to the leaf.  After that add any other side dishes you want such as beans sprouts, kimchi or spinach.  Wrap it up with your chopsticks (not an easy task) and Voilà!

Another way to enjoy okara is to eat it with the soup.  On it’s own, the soups broth is a bit spicy although still pretty simple. However by adding a dollop (or two or three) of okara to the mixture you get a pleasantly different taste.  The okara adds a fragrant texture to the soup while still staying clean and fresh.

Because okara isn’t commonly seen, most people don’t now how to recognize or use it.  And since it doesn’t taste all that great on it’s own, it is understandable why  customers  would choose to avoid it on the off chance they do come to a place that serves it.  However, okara is quite a delicious treat when used correctly.  And thanks to places like 시골손두부, you can experience it yourself and like myself, surprisingly love it!

Voilà

Directions

Via Bus

Buses 400 and 493 both depart from the intercity bus terminal and will take you to 연춘리 하자. From here it’s only a two minute walk to the restaurant. The ride will take about 50 minutes.

Via Taxi

Taking a taxi from the bus terminal will only take you about 20 minutes but the fare will be around 15,000 won.  Alternatively, a taxi from Cheonan-Asan Station will only take 19 minutes, however the cost will be about 16,000 won.

Address:

107 Yeonchun-ri, Buk-myeon, Dongnam-gu, Cheonan-si, Chungcheongnam-do

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