YUBU is Toronto's only spot dedicated to yubuchobap (Korean-style inari sushi) that's wedged in a somewhat sparse corridor for food at U of T and near Robarts Library.
These tofu pockets are the perfect snack for hungry and cash-strapped college kids, ready to wolf down a couple in between classes.
Think of these as delicate fried tofu skin pillows that are stuffed with seasoned rice and finished with hearty toppings like beef bulgogi, kimchi fried rice or Korean-style beef brisket.
Simply walk up to the counter, place your order with the kiosk and browse the 14 tofu pocket options. Good news, there's more on the horizon.
Sold in packs of three or four, the prices depend on exactly which yubu you pick, which can vary from $13 to $15 for a trio.
I sample through the line up which included, from left to right (top row): crab meat ($4.49), egg ($3.99), spicy crab ($4.49) and tuna mayo with red cabbage ($4.99).
There was also, (bottom row) from left to right: garlic mushroom ($3.99), kimchi fried rice with egg ($4.49), beef bulgogi ($5.49) and spicy salmon ($5.49).
Manager Jae Yoon Kim tells me that three or four pockets are perfect for a meal. It's even good for sharing.
"We sell them in a pack of three or four so you can share them with your friends. But, if you have three or four you'll be full," he says with a laugh.
The space opened in early December 2022 with Kim sharing that the majority of customers who have swung by aren't familiar with the concept but are eager to learn and taste.
"I know some sushi places do some [yubu] but we are the first dedicated restaurant," he said.
He guesses around 80 per cent of customers are students, who are always looking for their next meal.
Pro-tip: YUBU also does catering.
Best-sellers include the egg yubu, which is topped with buttery scrambled eggs and sweet mayo, the kimchi fried rice which replaces the normal seasoned rice and is capped with a mini fried egg, plus crab meat pockets.
Without launching their delivery apps or doing any marketing, Kim says they are able to whip up and sell 100 to 200 freshly-made pockets a day.
While some toppings like garlic mushroom are easily assembled, other toppings like bulgogi or beef brisket take longer (a two-hour slow cook process) to obtain optimum tenderness and flavour.
"This is our basic menu, we're going to add one or two menus monthly or seasonally," Kim says of the takeaway-friendly finger foods.
Of course, nothing is complete without dipping sauces ($2 each), YUBU offers four: Spicy garlic; sweet; spicy; and plain garlic mayo. All are great accompaniments.
Served and eaten cold, Kim is also going to add other Korean side dishes to the menu.
You can also wash your selection of yubu down with some Korean beverages like the classic Lotte Milkis Peach Soda ($2.99).
Neatly arranged in the showcase, these yubu tofu pockets are meticulously crafted, sometimes torch-finished and are just so darn cute. They're *almost* too cute to eat.
A second and third location on College and in Scarborough are set to launch in the near future, which means you'll soon be able to try yubu across the city.
YUBU is located on Huron at Glen Morris St