Thursday, June 18, 2009

Young Dong, San Gabriel CA

I still think that soon tofu or soondubu is almost the best hangover soup...pretty close runner-up to beef/bulalo nilaga (beef and vegetable soup) and nissin instant cup ramen (yes, in 3mins and it's bye bye hangover). So after a night of over indulging in Sapporo and Nigori Sake, Young Dong was the perfect late lunch spot. We had some time for "scratchers" at the nearby store while waiting for some friends who were "supposedly" stuck in traffic. Not that i have to really mention this but what the hell. I was expecting the king of punctuality...well...if not early, at least on time, but was slightly disappointed.
We finally went in and got to sit down at around 3pm and immediately an array of Korean side dishes or "banchan" were placed on our table. Banchan are small dishes of food served along with the main course and rice in a stone pot. Kimchi (fermented vegetables with chili peppers and salt), kongnamul (cold, boiled bean sprouts with sesame oil), pajeon (thin Korean pancakes with green onions), japchae (translucent noodles with garlic sauce and vegetables), Korean-style potato salad and a green salad were all served before we even ordered our dishes.
I ordered the beef and octopus soon, joe(my "special someone") ordered the scallop sizzler and our friends ordered two combination soons, it's soup with a pairing, one with bulgogi (thinly sliced beef with garlic and green onion served on a sizzling plate) and the other with bibimbap (mixed rice bowl with vegetables, beef, and egg with a sweet and spicy sauce on the side).
The soups came in little pots, almost boiling, perfect for the uncooked eggs they serve it with. Crack it directly on the soup and it will cook itself in almost no time. The steam coming out of these pots were almost comforting...i guess it's knowing that as soon as my tongue can actually handle it, i can start stirring and feeding my stomach with much needed reprieve. My soup was absolutely perfect, next to Beverly Tofu House, Young Dong's soon tofu was also flavorful and filling. The broth was not too spicy (i got a medium), the tofu pieces were silky and just melts in your mouth, and the portion was neither too big nor too small. They actually do not skimp on beef and octopus, which were both surprisingly tender. For those that know me well, arise and rejoice in the fact that if you take me here you will actually get to smell, sip, eat, and enjoy the food...silence is indeed golden. Joe's sizzler plate however was an expected let down, with very little scallops and a mountain of fillers, AKA bean sprouts. He did say that the scallops were "fine", very definitive??? Oh well, i was enjoying my quiet indulgence, sorry beb, "can't help you right now". The bulgogi was good. No, it was not get off your seat, standing ovation amazing, nevertheless good. They actually give you a big portion, enough for 2-3people according to my "Einstein calculations", but only because i don't really care for more add-ons when you have your soup to focus on. The bibimbap was a big portion as well, very generous with their vegetables, beef, and rice. Although by the end of lunch, it was the to-go meal...not that it was not good but after the spicy banchans, the amazing soup, the tender meat, the heavy carb known as rice...i doubt that anyone can really finish anything to the last morsel.
Although this late lunch was really, really, really LATE...i would not even bat an eyelash and do it over and over again. Comfort foods are personal, although most would say its the chicken noodle soup mom makes or the southern style cooking you crave every now and then...well, this is my chicken noodle soup. Hmmm, although my mom's molo soup is very much missed right now, tofu soup will have to do. So next time i get my hangover headache and stomach upset or for no preconceived reason at all, i definitely know where to go. And it didn't really matter that it was probably 80deg outside and not exactly soup day, we traveled regardless, towards my idea (of the moment) of comfort food.


  1. I like comfort food and everyone has their own idea of what it is. As long as you find it comforting thats all that matters.


  2. very very true...i think any dish can be a comfort food...just depends on who's actually enjoying it... ;)

  3. so you know bulalo too? that's one tasty beef soup dish! I make that too! hmmm, this tofu soup seems to interest my curiosity =)

  4. hahahah try it...this soup rocks if you know where to go... ;) but im filipino so definitely nilaga is close to my heart and my tummy ;)