Wandering Wednesday: Fiery Soft Tofu from Jong Ka Jib

It’s Wednesday, and I am checking out another spot a little more North and East than where I usually dine. Today, its soft tofu for lunch.

Jong Ka Jib is apparently THE place to get hot, bubbly, spicy Korean style soft tofu called soon du boo.  I will admit that generally, I prefer my tofu like I prefer my butts- firm. Could I be swayed otherwise?

Some of the banchan put down on our table included classic kimchee, spicy cucumbers, and seaweed salad. I was sad that our mini plates were never refilled. If anyone knows of a place that is more attentive with replenishing the pre meal spicy snacks, please share in the comments.

The menu is brief; mostly varieties of soft tofu and Korean grill things. The soft tofus cost $9 no matter which you get. They come out in mini cauldron’s, fit for a baby witch. Come to think of it, the contents look like something a baby witch would concoct anyway.

An addition black vessel is used for each person’s serving of rice. The more you wait, the crispier the rice gets along the bottom.

My mixed up bowl of rice soaked with mushroom soonduboo looked intimidatingly spicy.  And since we asked for it that way, we were not let down. But Jong Ka seemed to be willing to accommodate different spice levels, if you want it toned down.  But generally, if it is a spice craving you are looking to satiate, then Jong Ka is where you want to be. It is my understanding that soonduboo is all about a spicy + texture experience. However, if you are like me, and think that a meal should be more about layers of flavor rather than spice and texture, maybe the trip isn’t worth it.

Photo above and below courtesy of my meal companion, Philadining, since I wasn’t fast enough with my camera

Leave it to me to prefer the fried thing. The giant Korean pancake ($10) comes stuffed with little perfect pieces of squid.

And speaking of squid, Jong Ka knows a thing or two about it. If you afford to splurge a few extra dollars or decide to split it, the charred grilled squid, served whole with scissors to cut into whatever shape you choose, was the best thing I eat here.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • I am looking for authentic spicy Korean food

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • I need more than just spice and texture

Jong Ka Jib, 6600 N. Fifth St, 215-924-0100



  • Is that squid served on a ram shaped fajita plate? That’s cool. I’m spending a night in Seoul next month and am very, very excited for dinner.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I have been to this place a million times with my parents, this is their fav place for soon dooboo.

    The thing with the banchan is if you don’t ask, they won’t give you more… not because they don’t want to, it’s a wasting food thing, they don’t want to waste it if you don’t want it. I think it’s a cultural thing more than anything, so they will wait for you to flag them down and ask for more instead of assuming anything.

    I hope this helps. and this is the BEST place for soon dooboo in the area. My parents are from Korea and it took them a long time to find a fav soon dooboo spot.

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    to add to yooangel’s reply, you can get refilled on selected banchan, or all of it if you want. You can also get more than one of the same thing.

    Get the no spicy if you want to taste all the different flavors.

    Also, did you eat the crispy rice part with the tea water?

  • @yoo and mbuu- good to know about the refill policy there. Maybe I am used to being treated like a Banchan Princess (great name for a K-pop band, by the way, am I right?) and shouldn’t expect automatic refills.

    @mbuu I actually borrowed some else’s bland chicken soup to mix up my rice.

    @steve- have fun on your trip, I will expect at least a few pictures from you

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    i want to be the lead singer to banchan princess! haha, hilarious

  • That squid dish looks absolutely amazing.

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