Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Myung Ga Tofu

It was a rainy Sunday night in West when the inaugural meeting of the self-proclaimed Fort Lauderdale Eating Club was rightfully initiated with the clinks of roasted barley tea. And so starts a series adventure of eating with delightful dishes with wonderful friends every Sunday at 7pm. Myung Ga Tofu & Barbecue is small and hidden in a small shopping center on the edge of the Everglades but on this night, it was filled with local families sitting down for their Sunday dinners. The place is small, quaint, and humbly decorated with Korean themes – a decorated awning over the kitchen, small banners and Korean dolls are a reminder of home.

The chairman (never ‘chairman’, always ‘the' chairman’) ordered Kimchee Pancakes for the table.  These were slightly different from the other pancakes I have had before; they seemed to have more sweet potato flour than tapioca or rice flour.  Nonetheless, they were absolutely the perfect starter.  The tangy, spicy and pungent kimchee is rightly muted by the light airy dough.  It came was a soy sauce based dipping sauce which rounded off the pancake nicely with the added salty umami-ness.  

Next to arrive was our selection of side dishes – kimchee, pickled cucumbers, soy beans, macaroni salad, and a small salad.  I have to admit, this is not the best selection of side dishes, and the macaroni salad is out of place, but the kimchee and pickled cucumber salad was perfect.  The side dishes whet our appetite while we discussed the rule of our eating club.  I was deemed to be the Duchess of Debauchery. 
Our main courses arrived with flair and steam, the two tofu soups (I got the seafood, beef, and soft tofu soup and the other was a kimchee tofu soup) we ordered were literally bubbling over.  We immediately cracked open our eggs and mixed them in there while the soup was boiling.  The Chairman got the combo with came with a (literal) steel basin of cabbage beef soup and a half order sizzling short ribs.  We also got the beef bulgogi. 
My soup was served in a cast iron pot, with large portions of beef and seafood but the majority of the soup was tofu.  I would probably as for a little more broth next time but every bite I had was wonderful.  The soup was spicy, slightly sour, and garlicky; it was pure comfort food to me.  Chicken noodle has nothing on this; neither does Chuck Norris’ tears.  I ordered my soup extra spicy (level 5 aka native); this might have been a mistake.  It burned terribly but burned so good.  The combination of the hot (temperature) and the hot (spice) was almost overwhelming, but I think it actually made me feel significantly better in some epicurean masochistic manner.  Our waiter warned us about the spice levels, but there was no chance I was going to back down.  The waiter brought out waters for our non-Asian friends, but I didn’t get one so I just treaded on with false bravado. 
So our first meeting came to a close, the Destroyer of Desserts was selected to find our next meeting location.  We parted ways in a monsoon of a storm; stomachs full and burning with spice but feeling warm and comforted.

Myung Ga Tofu & Barbecue on Urbanspoon

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