06 July 2012

Yongin: BonDish Cruelty Free

This place MUST be just for vegans.  Like pretty much everywhere, it's also 5 seconds from my camp in AJ and Shelley's living room.  It's packed with plastic take out containers full of diverse meals, all labeled completely in Korean.  I grabbed three, and the woman at the counter must've taken pity on my lack of Korean language skills when I pointed at one of my dishes and said, "Tofu?"  She threw an extra smaller tofu dish in for free, and I'm stupidly happy she did.  All 4 (for the price of 3) were W7,000 ($6.14), and lasted for many leftovers.

BonDish Cruelty Free
Hell if I know what street that is
Giheung-gu, Yongin-si, Gyounggi-do
South Korea

My meal began with the Doenjang Jjigae, a pungent bean, tofu, and seaweed soup.  Often when Koreans prepare it, they throw in whatever veggies they've got lying around.  This particular bowl came about as close to smelling like fish as you can get without actually containing fish.  It took a few bites for me to begin to appreciate the flavor, but once I got there it tasted pretty good.  Oddly, after I tasted the other three dishes - all of which were more instantly likable - I tried the soup again and couldn't stomach it any longer.  Shelley, who usually laps up Doenjang Jjigae, couldn't handle it because it's too strong.  Like when you put too much miso paste in the miso.

The seaweed salad was a definite winner.  Its accessories included toasted sesame seeds, carrot, scallions, and onions, with some kind of lovely dressing.  The texture struck soft and chewy chords, and the overall taste was salty, slightly spicy, and perfect.  I could eat that stuff all day.  I like to stick lots of it in my teeth so I can have seconds later.  This is also one of the reasons I have so many friends.

The strips of texturized vegetable protein (TVP - it's like seitan) had this incredible salty, sour, slightly heated quality with a toothsome bite.  That was addictive.  Like noodles, but made out of pizza.  Only better.*

My favorite were the tofu squares below.  They were laced with enough flavor to make my entire life seem milquetoast by comparison.  The spice level was high, and the tofu, although uncooked, blew me away.  It was saturated with whatever magical marinade in which it had been prepared.  Cold.  Soft.  Crunchy veggies on top.  If I could make tofu like that, I'd write a cookbook.  And a memoir.

The four dishes I picked up comprise only a small percentage of the total variety at BonDish.  You could spend weeks going through everything, and I recommend you do exactly that.  Except don't like, sleep on their floor or anything.  Or, if you do, don't tell them you know me.

* This is one of those times I should read what I'm writing out loud.  But I'm not.


  1. I love TVP!!! How the heck else are you going to make sloppy joes with poblano peppers that rock your face off?
    but, can you explain what the heck is seitan and where to find it in the grocery store???

    1. I know right?! Ooh, I bet your sloppy Joes are finger-lickin' good. Seitan is pretty much Becca's specialty - you can make it by mushing vital wheat gluten up with some flavors, boiling it in broth for an hour, then cooking it in whatever dish you're making. It's more expensive to buy than to make, but it is nice not to have to cook it forever. You'd probably find it alongside the tofu and tempeh.