A Sundubu Specialist Sets Up Shop in Boston

Spicy Korean tofu soup, or sundubu jjigae, is a great treat when it's made right. "It's not a complicated food," another_adam says, "but it's one of those things that you really want to get from a place that specializes in it."

Good news for Boston hounds: Kaju Tofu Restaurant, a new Korean joint in Allston, features this dish on its menu, and another_adam thinks that's the main reason to go. "They have more flavors than average, including the usual suspects (seafood, beef, mushroom, octopus/beef) and also some less common ones (kimchi-oyster, intestine)." Vegetarian options may be limited, though, since another_adam suspects that all of these are made with the same anchovy base. Customers can choose their heat level (mild, regular, spicy, or extra spicy), and the soups are served with a raw egg, to be cracked into the dish as soon as it arrives at the table.

The broth in the extra spicy kimchi-oyster version is really good, another_adam reports. "[It's] rich with the flavor of seafood and chili pepper cooked long enough to dissolve/integrate fully into the broth, with enough salt to bring out the richness of the soup base." Better yet, the extra spicy wasn't toned down for gringos, a trend that is prevalent at many Los Angeles "sunduberias." (Kaju Tofu's original location is in Garden Grove, California.)

Rice is served in a stone pot, and after it's ladled into individual bowls, the pieces that remain on the bottom get crispy as they continue to toast. At the end of the meal, you can ask for some hot water to be added to the pot, creating scorched rice tea (sungnyung). another_adam thinks this practice shows that the folks at Kaju know what they are doing, though he notes that he had to request the added water.

News of Kaju's opening has thrilled several Boston hounds. "It's exciting just to have a 'specialist' restaurant in town, but the fact that it's a sundubu specialist just made my year!" Nab says.

Kaju Tofu Restaurant [Allston]
58 Harvard Avenue, Allston
617-208-8540

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