Tofu Buchim (Simple Korean Fried Tofu)

In a highly scientific survey conducted by this blog on foreigners checking out of Korea, I asked what people would most miss about the ROK. Obvious answers like cheap transportation, liberal drinking laws, and the ability to easily save half a paycheque were abound, but the answer people are most certain, and certainly passionate about? The food. The set of sides accompanying each meal, spilling off the edge of the table. The incredibly cheap prices, where cooking Korean at home usually saves a negligible amount. The spiciness, the sauces, the DIY meals—we’re all really gonna miss this cuisine.  And since we’ve now entered our last month in Korea (cue a wave of mixed emotions), I want to squeeze in as much gochujang, red pepper powder, kimchi, and kimbap as possible into my next month—including the meals I prepare for myself.


After my article for Colorful Daegu on Kimchi Jeon, they’ve requested I put my kitchen to work again. This time I made a simple fried tofu dish, mostly as a host for a spicy, savory, salty sauce—one that I’ll be stocking regularly in my fridge from now on. While I’m not a huge fan of tofu as a main protein source (nobody likes OD-ing on estrogen), I do believe in moderation. Where beans and lentils are not actually plentiful here in Korea, tofu—so long as it’s organic and not jam-packed with GMOs—can make a nice occasional vegetarian protein source, a pretty side dish with a kick, or as I used it, a salad booster for my lunch.

Head on over to Colorful Daegu for my post on Tofu Buchim!


the “controversy” series #2: soy

just check out the ingredients on this bad boy.

Gawd, I hate to do this one. I finally acquired a taste for tofu. Not only that, but soy’s in EVERYTHING.

… But that’s it, right? Soy’s in EVERYTHING. Doesn’t that make you question how it’s a so-called ‘health food?” If it really were so awesome for you, wouldn’t it be expensive and used less liberally?

Think about it. Soy is a bumper crop subsidized in the U.S. by the government. Just like corn, it’s used when farmers need to give their fields a little break, so there’s a LOT of this stuff going around. And since there’s lots of it, it goes for cheap. So of course, food manufacturers want to use it, so they send it off to the lab to find 2974118 million or so ways to rearrange its particles, and sell it to look like something else, ’cause it’ll save them a buck or two. So now we’ve got soy milk, soy cheese, soy yogurt, soy protein isolates for your protein bars and powder, soy burgers, soy fake chicken, soy soap, soy fabric, soy plastic (?!), organic soy lecithin (a food stabilizer and emulsifer), texturized soy protein (ew!), and the list goes on. And beyond processing a soybean in weird ways, it continues to get worse.

  • Man titties: Soy is super high in phytoestrogens. Yes, like that estrogen. Independent research repeatedly says that phytoestogrens mess up your hormones, and can mean breast cancer, infertility, low libido, and more. To put in easy terms:

An infant taking the recommended amount of soy formula is consuming a hormone load equivalent of 4 birth control pills a day! Is it any wonder we’ve seen such a dramatic rise in precocious puberty with young girls starting their periods at 6 and 7?

-quote via

  • Trypsin inhibitors found in soy can mess with your digestion of protein. Now isn’t that ironic?
  • Soy foods contain aluminum and MSG, two things you do NOT want in your body.
  • Soy foods increase the body’s need for Vitamin D. And if you live in Toronto, or a basement, or have an office job? You need as much D as you can get!
  • Soy is a goitrogen, which basically means it blocks your thyroid from getting iodine and functioning properly. Ouch. Do you know what your thyroid does for you?! It regulates your mood. It regulates your weight. It helps you concentrate and remember more.. and that’s just the beginning. You can mess with the gods, you can mess with the cops, but don’t! mess! with your thyroid!
  • If this stuff doesn’t make you question dumping soy milk in your coffee every morning, check out these testimonials.

If you want to keep soy in your life, there is an alternative—make like sauerkraut and ferment that shit! The process helps keep the bad stuff (the phtytates, or mineral-blocking enzyme inhibitors) outta your system—so fermented soy products like tempeh, nori, and tamari are safe. And don’t worry about soy milk—there’s plenty of yummy alternatives, like almond, hazelnut, hemp, coconut…

Sorry about the soy. And don’t let this make you think that all health foods are scary and trendy and potentially bad! Just beware, and at least if you don’t cut it completely, use less. Try something different. Your body will thank you.