Cuisine off Campus: Tofu House is worth the trip

Feb. 13, 2023, 12:22 p.m.

“Cuisine off Campus” reviews food near Stanford’s campus. We consider what matters to college students: How close is the restaurant? How expensive is the food? And, most importantly, how tasty is it? We hope to help you find your next favorite spot!

So Gong Dong Tofu House on El Camino Real is unassuming. Packs of people waiting outside signal that there is something delightful behind its plain facade, but a glance inside reveals what looks like a high school cafeteria: bright white walls and sterile floors. 

Venturing into the unassuming spot reveals a menu full of delicious surprises. The ramen soft tofu — a dish of boiled tofu, instant ramen and vegetables — arrived at the table in a stone bowl, which kept the dish hot for the duration of the meal. When ordering, patrons are given the choice of a variety of spice levels for the dish — for ours, we chose medium. The kick of the spice was complemented nicely by the various vegetables throughout the dish. The tofu, quickly falling apart in the mouth, was silky and soaked in broth.

Pork, egg yolk, sprouts, greens and carrots simmer in a stone bowl.
The pork bibimbap with crisp rice and egg yolk was a textural exploration. Tofu House has both meat and vegetarian options for its customers. (Photo: SAM WADDOUPS/The Stanford Daily)

Tofu House isn’t all tofu, though. Brought to the table still hot to the touch, the pork bibimbap was an extraordinary textural experience. Crispy rice was complemented by the raw egg yolk that cooked up right in the bowl. The bibimbap sauce had a salty spice that elevated the entire dish. 

The dumpling yook gae jang was the one disappointment from the variety of items we ordered. The dumplings in this beef soup were great, but the rest of the bowl lacked flavor, tasting like a plain meat broth. To be fair, this could have been an ordering mistake. We chose a low spice level for the soup, and it might have been better with more of a kick. When we added some of the spiced bibimbap sauce directly into the broth, the soup did gain a lot more dimension.

Most main courses were around $20 — a reasonable price for such large portions. Adding onto that value, orders come with a complimentary assortment of toppings and sides. A highlight from this assortment was a cucumber vinegar salad, with just the right harmony of sweet and savory.

Dumplings and sprouts are visible through murky soup in a metal bowl.
Dumpling yook gae jang in a metal bowl. The broth was topped by vegetables and had wontons poking through. (Photo: KIRSTEN METTLER/The Stanford Daily)

The tofu buchim, a fried tofu pancake, was a tasty savory side to accompany our other dishes. The tofu had a nice salty flavor, with a perfect balance between a crispy exterior and soft interior. We especially enjoyed the tofu in combination with the broth from our soup dishes. 

With delicious meat options and creative tofu mains, the menu was vast and varied, which we appreciated since one of our tasters prefers to eat vegetarian.

Seven small metal bowls contain various toppings.
Complimentary toppings served with our meal. A delicious array of seven different ‘dishes’ added dimension and flavor to our main course. (Photo: KIRSTEN METTLER/The Stanford Daily)

After such a great meal, we will be recommending Tofu House to our friends and readers. The one caveat comes from the restaurant’s atmosphere. The barren environment felt depersonalized, especially since orders were processed through a QR scanner. Sound ricocheted easily in the space, making it hard to hear your tablemates. The ambiance isn’t everything, but when going off campus to eat, sometimes you long for something that feels more distanced from institutionalized eating. 

Tofu House is a 12-minute drive or a 20-minute bike ride from GovCo. From EVGR-A, it’s closer — only 10 minutes by car and 14 minutes by bike. 

A stone bowl with a spoon in it contains remnants of tofu soup.
An empty bowl of ramen soft tofu soup. This meal at tofu house was filling and delicious. (Photo: ISABELLA SARACCO/The Stanford Daily)

Editor’s Note: This article is a review and includes subjective thoughts, opinions and critiques. If you have restaurant suggestions for this column to review, email arts ‘at’

Kirsten Mettler '23 is an Executive Editor of The Stanford Daily. She is a former Managing Editor for Arts & Life and Desk Editor for News. Contact her at kmettler 'at' Saracco '23 is a staff writer and columnist for The Stanford Daily. She loves Chicago, deep-dish pizza and cats.

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