Abalone Soondubu at BCD – NYC
Since BCD Tofu House on 32nd Street moved a few doors down earlier this year, there’s been a few changes. First, lots of space! There are now two floors for your soondubu-eating pleasure, and if you care of such things, more than one bathroom. Also, more banchan (Korean side dishes)! Along with the usual fried croaker, pickles, kimchi, and ojinguh jut (salted spicy squid), there’s a few more side dishes. Aside from the braised burdock root (우엉조림), nothing remarkable, but as always, much appreciated when it’s free. As for the menu, there are a few more items, most notably, the abalone soondubu jigae ($19.99).
Almost twice the price of my usual soondubu, it’s quite pricey. However, if you’re a fan of abalone, you might be tempted. Well, let me stop you right there. Just don’t. It’s not worth it. While you will get a good amount of abalone (3 huge whole pieces in mine) along with some mussels and shrimp, it will most likely be overcooked, tough, and difficult to eat even with strong teeth and mad chopstick skillz. (The latter with a “z” is important unless you want to reenact a flying shellfish moment à la Pretty Woman.) One day I may be proved wrong, but until then, in my opinion abalone is best cut into small pieces and eaten in junbok jook (전복죽, abalone porridge/congee) or served raw sashimi/hwe-style.
So save the extra $8-$9 bucks and put it to better use. Remember if you go at lunchtime, BCD’s excellent sweet and savory LA galbi (marinated short ribs) can be had with a small soondubu for less than the price of an abalone soondubu and less of a workout for your jaw.