Restaurant of the Week: Myung Dong Tofu House

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Myung Dong Tofu House, 9799 Base Line Road (at Archibald), Rancho Cucamonga

Korean restaurants are relatively rare in the Inland Valley, and the subset of Korean tofu restaurants is even smaller. The only ones I’m aware of are Young Dong in Chino Hills and Myung Dong in Rancho Cucamonga.

The latter is in the shopping center where the 99 Ranch market recently opened. Based on the pit area, Myung Dong appears to have taken over a Korean barbecue restaurant. The furnishings aren’t quite up to snuff; merely plopping into a booth rattled the booth back and the customer sitting behind me.

I ordered a bibimbap with beef paired with pork tofu soup ($12) and friend got mushroom tofu soup ($9). Bibimbap — assorted vegetables with a meat of your choice, rice on the side — is a basic Korean dish, albeit one I’d never had. The thick soup, spiked with chunks of tofu, comes in a hot pot and arrived at our table bubbling.

Service was helpful. The food was okay if unspectacular. Too much tofu and not enough of the main item (pork or mushroom, in our cases). The spice legend on the menu ranges from four peppers (extra spicy) past mild (one pepper) to white. (I joked that maybe white is for white people.) My friend’s spicy soup (three peppers) wasn’t very spicy; even I could eat it, and I’m sensitive to spiciness. So the food, at least in this one experience, was blander than it should have been.

Young Dong was a better experience. But if you’re closer to Rancho Cucamonga than to Chino Hills, and you’d like to try Korean tofu, Myung Dong is good enough.

I would advise against the combinations unless you’re a bigger eater than I am. Either the soup or the bibimbap would be enough for a decent meal, especially with the free appetizers you always get at a Korean restaurant, the small dishes of kimchi, bok choy, potato, cucumber and other items.

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  • Scott in the RC

    Hi David,

    This restaurant was once an all you can eat sushi restaurant. The old owners tried to make it into a “Benihana” type place with the pit area but I believe they went out of business before completing their dreams. I haven’t been in since Myung Dong took over and opened up their Tofu-B.B.Q. restaurant.

    Coincidentally, I had lunch yesterday at Young Dong in Chino Hills. We originally had plans to go to the Chinese restaurant next door, but decided to try the Korean restaurant instead. They must be doing something right as there was quite a lunch crowd keeping the staff busy. Even with the crowd, everything came to the table bubbling hot in the cast iron bowls and sizzling hot plates like we were the only ones there. We were pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoyed the experience!

    [Scott, glad to hear it, and thanks for the background on the Myung Dong space. — DA]

  • K

    Speaking of Korean BBQ, have you tried the Korean BBQ joint on Holt Avenue, just east of Pomona? Wonderful bibimbop, and the tastiest bulgogi (beef) around (and I’ve eaten enough in Koreatown to appreciate these folks).

    The place is never full (and it looks a little down on its luck), but the food is great.

    [A colleague was just praising the place earlier this week. No, I haven’t been there, figuring it couldn’t possibly be good, but now you’ve got me curious. — DA]