We Du Agree, Dubu Puts Out Top Notch Korean in North Philly

Dubu opened a few months ago by the H-Mart in Elkin’s Park, which you can hit by going north and north and north on Broad. With a background in NYC Korean restaurants, the Dubu team aimed to bring quality Korean food to Philly, with a tofu-focused menu. To emphasize that fact, their namesake ”dubu” is Korean for tofu.

At any Korean restaurant the pre-meal ban chan can tell you about the meal you are about to partake in. Here, the number of options were slightly less than others, but the quality of each little dish was high: spicy kimchee, chive pancakes, potato salad, cold calamari salad.  The cold tofu was exceptionally good, a good sign.

Tofu was also appreciated in another appetizer form- fried and stuffed with meat alongside a tasty sesame dressing coated salad (dubu gui).

Jap chae is never something that gets my juices flowing, but Dubu’s, served hot with pieces of finely chopped meat, was exceptional- perhaps even my favorite of all times. It really comes down to those bits of meat, clinging to the sticky noodle.

Not pictured (because it was expertly sliced up for us as soon as it reached the table) but worth mentioning, was the pajeon, greasy in the best way and packed with seafood, we finished our wedges quickly.

From the many types of soondubu, tofu stew, we tried a mild dumpling and a spicy kimchee. Our waiter cracked a raw egg in to each stew tableside as they bubbled. I started with the milder tofu bowl, savoring the more subtle flavors and the well crafted dumpling. The fiery kimchee stew spooned over rice impressed everyone at the table, all who happened to be soondubu pros.

I generally really love galbi- Korean Short Ribs- Dubu’s come out sizzling, but the smell of it compelled me to immediately grab a rib to gnaw on. And I couldn’t stop. My pile of bones was impressive.

Dining in Dubu is a pleasure. The staff is accommodating, parking is plentiful, and there is even a kid’s room. Most importantly they put out quality food that can go head to head or even surpass the best Korean spots in the city. Given the almost perfect Yelp rating, I am not the only one who thinks so. Lunch specials include soondubus for $10.99 and and combos ranging from $12-$20.

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

  • A menu with a wide variety of high quality Korean food
  • Exceptional tofu and jap chae
  • Nice ambiance and a kids playroom available
  • Lots of parking

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

  • I don’t have time to get to Elkin’s Park

Dubu, 1333 Cheltenham Ave #102, Elkins Park, 215 782-3828

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