Try the yangnyeom-gejang, or spicy raw crab, at Tofu Story. | Photo by Linnea Covington

Off the Eaten Path: Raw Crab Adventure at Tofu Story

Take a trip as we explore the suburbs, family style with Kim and Vinn.

BY Linnea Covington


At this point it’s no secret the suburbs of Denver host some of the best ethnic restaurants in town. But there are so many of them, it’s hard to start without a savvy guide who knows the area. Enter Kim and Vinny Nguyen, an aunt and nephew duo who not only love a good meal, but always share it family style. 

Recently we met up at Tofu Story, a Korean restaurant specializing in freshly-made tofu. In fact, there’s even a tofu lab on premise, so diners just might catch some action of the soft soy cakes being made. 

“We love Tofu Story because of how they pay homage to Korean tradition,” said Vinny. “Making tofu from scratch is not easy, and the fact that they’re taking the time and care to make it, it’s a testament to their dedication to food.”

Kim and Vinny Nguyen have been exploring suburban dining for years. | Photo by Linnea Covington
Kim and Vinny Nguyen have been exploring suburban dining for years. | Photo by Linnea Covington

The dedication became apparent the moment our food rolled in. While the setting feels casual, with no frills in the decor, the bling comes from the colorful dishes gracing the table. With plenty of napkins, plastic gloves, chopsticks, and a big appetite, we dug in. 

Why We Went Here 

Those who know of restaurateur  J.W. Lee and his company Seoul Hospitality Group have most likely heard of Tofu Story. It opened in Denver at the beginning of 2023, making and selling some of the freshest tofu around. 

Lee isn’t new to restaurants. He started in Queens, New York where the first and only other iteration of Tofu Story resides. The restaurateur came to Denver in 2017, and has since then opened a slew of Korean- and Japanese-focused spots including the dumpling house Seoul ManDoo, four locations of Mono Mono Korean Fried Chicken, Menya, Mochinut, Seoul Korean BBQ & Hot Pot, and more. 

The tofu lab at Tofu Story. | Photo by Linnea Covington
The tofu lab at Tofu Story. | Photo by Linnea Covington

Most of the restaurants are found in the suburbs, including Tofu Story in Aurora. But just because Lee is known for his hip, casual Korean spots, we mainly went to Tofu Story for yangnyeom-gejang ($24.49), or spicy raw crab. The dish, said Vinny, can’t be found in many places (if any) in Colorado. 

The Food

Eating yangnyeom-gejang proves messy, hence the plastic gloves, but such is the nature with most shellfish one eats whole. The meat mostly tasted like the floral, slightly sweet spice mixture used to marinate the crab. The texture is more gelatinous than flaky, and, to the unseasoned yangnyeom-gejang eater, it was hard to tell what was meat and what was the sauce. Definitely give it a try, it’s worth dabbling in, especially when eaten with a side of warm, pillowy rice. 

Also on our table, the mandutguk ($16.49) is a savory dumpling soup that wasn’t as hard to share as one might think. Don’t be shy about asking for small bowls or more plates. Take up the offer for added cheese on the kalbi jjim ($55.49), it comes with a fire show that will melt and toast the creamy layer. All this comes with a colorful spread of banchan, tasty side dishes featuring kimchi, pickles, rice cakes, and more. 

Kalbi jjim, or Korean short rib, at Tofu Story. | Photo by Linnea Covington
Kalbi jjim, or Korean short rib, at Tofu Story. | Photo by Linnea Covington

Tofu Story Signature Dishes

The other highlight of Tofu Story is in the name. In fact, when Lee opened the restaurant he brought tofu experts to train the staff not only how to properly work with tofu, but how to make it too. The first step comes in the soybean, which he sources from the Minnesota-based, non-GMO company Soyko International. 

As one might expect, the tofu is good too. One vegan friend took some home to cook and professed it the best she ever had. Personal kitchen adventures aside, there’s something about super fresh tofu that’s not to be ignored. 

Mandutguk with banchan. | Photo by Linnea Covington
Mandutguk with banchan. | Photo by Linnea Covington

Left over from the creation process, soy pulp makes a bowl of kongbiji jjigae ($14.49) rich and hearty. It’s a traditional Korean stew made with pork and kimchi. Find a whole menu of sundubu jjigae, abbreviated to soon tofu (all dishes $15.95), which come with a side of white or purple rice. The latter has a pleasing nuttiness and striking hue. Choices range from vegetable and mushroom, ham with sausage, dumplings, intestine, and protein combos.

Though some of the dishes might sound out of one’s comfort zone, each Korean spelling comes with a brief English translation. When in doubt, ask the server for help. Unlike a traditional restaurant, there’s a button by the table to call the waiter when needed. 

Visit Tofu Story daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. 2060 S. Havana St., Aurora,

Where should we go next? Help us explore the richness of Denver’s suburban restaurants. In the mean time, take a trip to Japan at this staple eatery.

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Linnea Covington

Linnea Covington is the managing editor of DiningOut. She comes to us with a long background in food, restaurant and drinks journalism. Over the last two decades she’s written for tons of publications including Denver Post, Washington Post, Forbes Travel Guide, 5280 Magazine, New York Magazine, New York Times, Time Out New York and more.