Eat This Now: Soondubu (Soft Tofu Soup) at DooRe

When I say you should eat this now, I don't mean just here. Get it anywhere you can get it. You are closer to a soondubu (soft tofu soup) joint than you realize. Look it up! This is the weather for it. Consider soondubu the best natural antifreeze and one of the greatest dishes that Koreans have blessed the world with. It follows the rule of a lot Korean dishes that what's served hot is even better when it's served still roiling, sputtering, or scalding in a heavy-gauge iron pot.


I don't think there's a people more obsessed with the temperature of food than the Koreans. Think of Korean BBQ plucked seconds from table-top grills, liquefied fat still rippling from the heat. Think of dol sot bibimbap, rice topped with meat and veggies, seared to crispness in heated stone bowls dangerously hot enough to brand. And think of this dish, soondubu, a soup kept simmering and so satisfying and homey, you'll crave it during frigid days like these more than your mom's chicken noodle.
DooRe does one of the better pots of soondubu in Irvine. The second you receive custody of the soup, crack a raw egg into it, then tuck the yolk under the layers of boiling soybean custard, meat bits, and broth. Let it sink to the bottom to be swaddled in the warmth. By the time you slurp your way back to the egg, it'll be soft poached, ready to be spooned up with the rest of the meal, which will include at least a half dozen smaller dishes call panchan. So nibble on a cooling celery salad here, a wiggly cube of jelly there, some rice, then sip and sip and sip away on that warming ambrosia. Just do it now while it's boiling hot and the air is cold!

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