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Jan 3, 2002 07:35 PM

Sokongdong Tofu House

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It took a couple tries before I found one of the Korean tofu places that my sister thought was suitably vegan. We came up to Sokongdong Tofu house in a strip mall on 6th Street near Normandie/Vermont, that looked a little too clean and cafeteria-like. What we had, however, was some really good inexpensive food. I ordered the house original soon tofu hotpot with beef, and my sister ordered the tofu hotpot with mushrooms. As we sipped on the barley ice tea, the panchan came to the table -- a cold vinegary soup with daikon, chili marinated raw crab, fish cakes, kim chee, cucumbers, squid, daikon, and two small whole deep fried fish that looked like mullet. Then two individual stone pots of rice were placed on the table along with two eggs. I was filling up on the panchan since my sister could only eat the cucumbers, daikon and soup. Then came the boiling hot pots. I cracked an egg in the boiling cauldron of tofu and let that simmer to a solid state. The same server emptied the rice into the metal rice bowls and poured hot water into the rice pots with the rice crusted along the side of the pot. We had to eat very slowly since the heat and spice were well contained in the hot pot. The empty panchan placed were replaced through the meal. When we were close to done with our hot pots, another server scraped the sides of the rice pots down and poured the contents into two more rice bowls -- a rice porridge to finish the meal. How clever. Then came the kicker. A cold sweet tea that tasted of cardamom. What a perfect treat after scalding my palate with the hot tofu. And the best treat was that everthing was included in the $7.45 price tag of the tofu hot pot. The total for the both of us didn't exceed $15. Amazing.

Beware, however, hot tofu burps are lethal. Keep some tic tacs or something nearby.

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  1. Hey Eric,
    Thanks for the tip. I got a home made soon dubu this trip home to LA, but didn't make it to any of the restaurants. Still looking for something remotely similar in Boston. You know the scene out here for Korean is pretty dismal.

    Did you try any of the new korean shabu shabu houses that are popping up around K town? I usually head to Seoul Garden on Olympic near alvarado, but I saw one on Western near 6th and my friend said there were more popping up.

    1. This place has largely been held to be the best Soon Du Bu around for years. There may be some newer places that are good, but this place is my favorite. Nice write-up Eric.

      1. great review! but before i head to 6th street, is this the same as the So Kong Dong at 2716 Olympic (btwn. berendo & new hampshire)?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Joe Blowe

          I noticed on their chopstick wrapper that they also had an Olympic Blvd location so that would probably be the one. Cheers.

        2. Great review!!!

          Another popular soon tofu restaurant is Bok Chang Dong, known as BCD. I believe there are 5 locations in K-town. Their soon tofu is also good.

          The sweet/spicy drink they brought to you is called Shik Hae. Common way to end Korean food.


          1 Reply
          1. re: Dan

            Actually, the sweet spicy drink that Eric enjoyed was probably "sujungwa," made from dried persimmons called "kot gam" (literally translates to flower persimmon) and cinnamon. It is reddish brown in color. Shik hae is a fermented rice drink with a milder flavor and is milky in color and often comes with bits of fermented rice on the bottom. Both are popular ways to end a Korean meal.

          2. Do any of you SoKong Dong fans (of which I am one) know the truth to the story that the chef of the one on Olympic was hired away about a year ago to go across the street to their rival - Beverly Tofu House- on Olympic? Just wondering if anyone knows the TRUE STORY? Keep on eating tofu pot. hmmm good. who cares about the burps? I'm addicted to the "Plain" one on the menu with pork. Even though I'm a spicy chick, this is a nice change and oh so soothing.