Korean: So Kong Dong Restaurant

Eating Out

 

 


Although So Kong Dong isn’t in NYC, I make a visit to my hometown at least once a month to devour its unparalleled tofu.  Its phone number is programmed into my phone.  I’ve brought carry-out back to NYC at the request of desperate friends.  Hey, if Anthony Bourdain visited this place on his No Reservations: New Jersey episode, it’s gotta be pretty good, right?

A high school friend first introduced me to Korean tofu, aka sundubu jjigae, more than 10 years ago.  I admit, back then I was not as adventurous with my food as I am now.  It took a little convincing for me to try it – after all, “soft tofu soup”?  It wasn’t an easy sell.  I’m sure glad I took that leap of faith; sundubu has since become my comfort food of choice.

Of course a Korean meal can’t start without the requisite ban chan – in this case, nabak kimchi, kimchi, kongnamul (seasoned bean sprouts, my absolute fave!), kkakdugi and oyee (cucumber) kimchi.  Not the most extensive spread, but I don’t dine here for the ban chan so it’s okay.

Food falls into two categories here – tofu, with various mix-ins, and galbi short ribs.  Mix-ins include mushrooms, beef, pork, clams, a general “seafood” category and whatever else your Korean-food heart desires.  To add another level of complexity, you need to order a level of spiciness for your sundubu.  I usually go for the seafood beef combo, with a not-too-spicy level of heat (I’m a wimp).  Oh and an order of galbi (I’m a pig).

You also get a hulking bowl of rice with your order.  This isn’t just any rice – although it is pretty typical of Korean restaurants.  It is soft, dense, and a perfect counterpoint to your sundubu and ribs.


Your sundubu will arrive sizzling hot, and here’s where you need to act fast – before the sizzle dies down, crack an egg into it, as so deftly demonstrated by my eating buddy:

The egg will soft-boil in the steaming hot soup.  Stir up the jjigae and dig in, yep – it’s that simple.  It’s savory, full of umami, very barely briny and filling.  It’s a huge bowl, but I’ve never had problems finishing it.  Mmmmm.

Of course you can’t forget about the galbi.  In true authentic style, it is served with a pair of scissors, for maximum cutting ease.  And let’s not talk about the irony of serving beef ribs in a cow-shaped dish. I get it.  And it still cracks me up after 12 years.


I’ve been to multiple sundubu restaurants in NYC; however, my heart will always belong to So Kong Dong.  At $10 for a sundubu and $18 for galbi, it’s a reasonable indulgence.  Run, don’t walk, to your nearest zipcar account and make the trip to NJ.  You won’t regret it.

Worth the trip!

So Kong Dong Restaurant
130 Main St., Fort Lee, NJ
201.242.0026

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    lavenderpug
    July 27, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    i've SO been there (unless there's more than one sundubu place on that road)! and oh my god it was delicious.

  • Reply
    Nani
    July 27, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    This is definitely going to go on my must visit list when I hit NY. I miss GOOD Korean food. We have found some decent places in NC but nothing like Cali so far. so I am definitely going to give this a try.

  • Reply
    Cathleya
    July 27, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Looks so great! There is not really any good Korean food here in Berkeley (although neighboring Oakland has a few decent places) and I am ALWAYS craving Korean!

  • Reply
    THE ALTERNATIVE WIFE
    July 27, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Oh I might have to take a drive on over the bridge. I used to work in Edgewater and a good friend of mine lives in Fort Lee so I'm really familiar with the area 🙂

  • Reply
    Try Anything Once Terri
    July 27, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Korean food!! YAY!! I wish I had a car so I could drive over there. Everything looks great!

  • Reply
    Melisa
    July 27, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    Yummy memories! Would love to go back for some more soft tofu!

  • Reply
    BWB
    July 28, 2010 at 12:09 am

    so good. sooooo good. when can i have more?

  • Reply
    melinda
    July 28, 2010 at 1:23 am

    I'm fascinated by this whole breaking an egg at the table deal. I would def. need a guide to tell me what to do and when!

  • Reply
    Laura
    July 28, 2010 at 2:10 am

    Looks awesome!! I still need to try more Korean food…I've only had it once and I'm married to a Korean!

  • Reply
    Layla
    July 28, 2010 at 2:22 am

    OMG drooooool. I love Korean food.

  • Reply
    Dead Flowers
    July 28, 2010 at 4:49 am

    DROOLING SO MUCH DROOLING.

  • Reply
    Sandy a la Mode
    July 28, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    mmm this place looks and sounds delicious!! i love clay cooked meals with a raw egg on top or mixed in, yum!!

  • Reply
    Carol
    July 28, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    AHH i LOVE so kong dong!! i must go to NJ now!

  • Reply
    Justin
    July 28, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    it's a tough call in my mind, but a lot of people think the place by the same name in Palisades Park, NJ is even better. plus, it's way easier to get a table in Pal Park, so that helps, and then you can stop by Hmart too!

  • Reply
    BigAppleNosh
    July 29, 2010 at 5:44 am

    @Justin Ooh, never tried the one in Pal Park, gotta check it out! And I sure love me some Hmart! 🙂

  • Reply
    OMGmom
    July 29, 2010 at 6:11 am

    I love Korean Food. LOVE it. And Love you for posting pretty pics of Korean Food. I'm going to a 100 day party tomorrow for a little boy I know and they best have me some rice cake and korean bbq waiting.

  • Reply
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