Food

Dirt Cheap Eats 2009: Lighthouse Tofu

The experience at these restaurants can be a bit frenzied: Walls are covered in tiny rows of Korean writing; panchan—little plates that come with every meal—hit the table in rapid succession; soon after, shareable pots of the scalding tofu soup called soondubu ($8.50 to $9.50) bubble in front of you.

Customize the red-pepper-based broth with seafood or meat (we like the texture of beef and pork with the silky tofu) and tweak the heat level (the scale goes from bland “white” to sinus-clearing “spicy spicy”). Next, crack a raw egg into the soup, turning it into something between scrambled and poached. The thin egg pancakes—the only other menu option—are nothing compared with the soup, a bowl of which is filling enough anyway.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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