Soak the wood ears in warm water for 20-30 minutes until they swell up and become soft.
Rinse under cold water, and cut into thin ribons, discarding any hard centers; set aside.
Slice tofu into long thin strips; set aside.
Bring the 4 cups of water to a boil in a soup pot; add the soy sauce, black pepper, garlic, sugar, vinegar, sambal oelek, and salt and stir to blend.
Lower heat to medium and cook for several minutes.
Add the bamboo shoots and cook for a minute before adding the wood ears, the tofu, and the sesame oil.
Cook the soup for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the cornstarch which should be dissolved in the 1 tablespoonful of water.
Beat the egg yolks lightly and slide into the soup; turn off the heat and DO NOT STIR.
The egg will cook into the hot soup and stay in pieces (if you stir it will shrivel).
Pour soup into serving bowls and garnish with strips of red pepper and cilantro leaves.