Do you think it is possible that the vegetable version of the Soon Tofu found in local Korean resto's is actually made from vegetable broth or would it be more likely that it is a fish or meat broth? Thoughts?
I'd like to take a vegan friend but I'm reluctant to do so without knowing in advance.
Like was mentioned before, it depends on where you go. I'm pretty sure that the broth is made with just water and soybean paste, but it's possible that other places use a meat or fish broth like jlunar mentioned.
Also, how vegan is your friend? Will they avoid eating there if the kitchen uses the same spoons to stir soups with meat/seafood added as the vegetable one? How about the fact that kimchi, which is served at every Korean restaurant is usually made with dried oysters or fish sauce? And in a vegetable soon dobu, you'll probably find kimchi in it.
If you're looking for as close to vegetarian as you can get, the restaurant Mot Na Son near yonge and finch has vegetarian soon dobu, in that there's no meat / fish stock used. They have several kinds as well, with either traditional bean paste, modified bean paste or both. To be honest though, I've never asked whether his kimchi has seafood in it. My girlfriend is a pescatarian so it has never been an issue for us.
Mot Na Son Restaurant
5374 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M2N5R5, CA
Couldn't you pick a Korean restaurant that offers sushi and Japanese food? This way, you can have whatever Korean dishes you desire and your friend can pick from a variety of veggie maki, seaweed salad, tofu appetizers, etc. My husband and I used to go to Seoul House or Il Bun Ji back when we first got together and I was still counting calories and fat grams. He'd order whatever his heart desired and I'd stick to kappa maki and oshinko maki (cucumber and pickled radish rolls). Fortunately, he was patient with my nonsense and I eventually became more interested in the Korean offerings, such as hwe dup bap or saengsun chigae/maewoontang (all contain fish).
All this said, you'll have to gauge whether your friend is militantly vegan, in which case she might not be cool with any restaurant that handles meat, fish and seafood of all kinds in the same kitchen with her veggies, grains and soy products. If that's the case, I'd suggest sticking to Chinese veggie places that do interesting food. Take a peek at this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6072...
Good luck. It's tough being a vegan in restaurants. It's also tough dining with a vegan when you're an omnivore. I've been on both sides, at one time or another.
Il Bun Ji Restaurant
668 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G1L2, CA