Eatery - Tofu Village (CA)

Tofu Village - 15128 S Western Ave, Gardena, CA 90247
Pricing - $ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - Korean | Reservations - Unnecessary

Nothing wrong with trying new places! It had been a while since I had been to a Korean tofu restaurant so when I went to have lunch with a friend, it was a good choice to check this out. He was up in Gardena though so I had no idea of how food was around there; Tofu Village had a good rating on Yelp so it was here that we ventured.

One of the fun things I like about Korean cuisine is the amount of side dishes that accompany meals. I remember when I was in South Korea, my host mom had a whole cupboard full of side dishes including multiple jars of different kimchi kinds. By cupboard, I mean one of those tool chest of drawers things...or whatever it's called. Anyhow, this place had the typical salted and softly fried fish that I've had at other tofu places. I'm not a fish fan (as aforementioned) but decided that I ought to eat it for your readership, hah. It wasn't too salty actually, so I did enjoy it. The only downside is how bony the fish is. Otherwise, the meat came off quite easily and with delightful flaky texture. The top row in this picture had a pickled kelp (yum!) dish and some non-spicy kimchi. Middle row had pickled Korean cucumber (only so-so to me), seasoned thick vermicelli (awesome), and sesame oiled bean sprouts (one of my favorites!).

So I ordered the beef soontofu (as it was called on the menu), which is pretty much a soft tofu soup. They brought it out in the traditional hot stone bowl with the soup still bubbling from having just been taken off of the heat; the waitress cracked a raw egg into it as is the norm and then scooped out some purplish rice that I haven't had before. The rice was a tad bit sticky and had some grains still in their husks. I enjoyed it actually, though I don't eat much rice. I felt a little bad for not finishing it due to how full I got. My tofu soup was quite plentiful in tofu which I liked a lot. However, the soup was a tad bit salty for my taste. The rest of the seasoning was good, and the level of spiciness (I asked for mild) was fair. I didn't think there was enough beef in the soup though. Additionally, I don't think that it was hot enough because my egg didn't cook all the way so I couldn't eat it in the end; also, I normally have to wait a while for this dish to cool down when I have it at restaurants but this time, I started eating fairly quickly. I'd say thumbs up for the quality of the tofu and the amount of it, but I was a little unimpressed with the rest.

The service was nice though, and there were lunch specials that my friend and I would've taken advantage of if we didn't feel that going to a tofu restaurant obliged us to having tofu! The dish was $7.99 for lunch, and the complimentary water was the typical Korean barley tea-water. They also had complimentary coffee via dispenser near the door. I'm not sure I would head back here again for the soup but I can't ding it completely since they serve other things too!