Tofu gets a bad rap in the west, seen as an inferior meat substitute with a disappointing texture and bland flavor. This is madness. Understandable, but madness. Sure, "coagulated bean curd" doesn't sound appetizing, but it's amazing when done right.
Sundubu jjigae is a great way to convert a tofu skeptic. Sundubu means "pure tofu," an uncurdled and unpressed tofu often referred to as soft or silken tofu, which gives you an idea of the texture. The tofu used in this dish is believed to originate from Gangwon province, following a genius decision to combine springwater with seawater to make a softer, fresher tofu. Turning it into a spicy stew just made it all the better.
The spicy stew comes in varieties to satisfy vegetarians as well as meat-lovers, including beef, pork, seafood, dumplings, and many more. The tofu is cooked in a bewilderingly delicious concoction of red pepper powder, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, spring onion, and other ingredients, and spice levels can be adjusted to taste. The dish usually arrives in a glazed earthenware bowl or dolsot stone pot at a piping hot temperature. Restaurants usually have fresh eggs to crack straight into the bubbling broth to cook. Sensible people crack a single egg, I have been known to double down on the egg. (On one particularly hungover morning, I cracked a total of four eggs into my dolsot before the waitress started glaring at me.)
And at about 200 calories per bowl (not including the rice and side dishes), it's healthy, too.