“The dish itself would become something of an American cultural phenomenon.”
The New York Times wrote a belated obituary notice of Lee Hee Sook, the founder of BCD Tofu House, on Thursday (local time) while sharing its comments on what her life was about. It is rare that it featured her life story in an obituary more than a month after she died at the age of 61 in Los Angeles on July 18.
Immigrating Los Angeles in 1989 with her husband, whose family name is Lee, the founder of BCD Tofu changed her surname from Hong to Lee, said The New York Times. When her sons begged after a church service to have soondubu at a restaurant across the street around the mid-1990s, she was inspired to start her own business. Her soondubu restaurant was named after Bukchang-dong, a neighborhood in Seoul where her aunt used to run a tofu restaurant.
Ms. Lee spent countless nights finding the golden recipe for soondubu and her establishment grew into a nationwide franchise chain with 13 branches in 12 U.S. cities, said The New York Times. “During the coronavirus pandemic, Ms. Lee continued to provide health benefits to laid-off workers and additional wages to those who stayed to help with takeout orders.”
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