Flying on my way from Bangkok to Hawaii on Korean Air, I had a 10 hour layover. Now at first I wanted to just sit back in a chair at the airport for my layover in Seoul (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-zrjBpKGiI) and use the fast wi-fi to get some work done. But as I thought more about the food, I couldn’t help myself from, not just the want, but the need to take a trip into Seoul with the intention of eating. Something I was really looking forward to, that I had been itching to eat, was a dish known as Sundubu Jiggae (순두부찌개) – a dish I think is one of the world’s most comforting comfort foods.
So as soon as landing at the Seoul airport, we headed to the subway station, and took the train all the way into Seoul station, before navigating our way through the hectic Seoul transit system and exiting at Anguk station and Exit #2 (more directions towards the bottom). It took a few minutes, but we eventually found our lunch time destination: Jaedong Sundubu (재동순두부) – a restaurant renowned for serving this wonderful comfort food. Just by chance, we arrived right during lunchtime, or on the tail end of lunchtime, and the restaurant was packed out. We had to wait for a table, which luckily only took about 15 minutes.
What is Sundubu Jjigae (순두부찌개)? It’s a Korean dish that’s made from tofu, but it’s not any kind of boring tofu, it’s sundubu, a tofu that’s outrageously soft and and it’s un-curdled. I’m not exactly sure what that means and how it’s made, but one thing I can tell you is that the tofu is so incredibly soft, it’s like baby food. The tofu is cooked in a broth made from red chili and red chili oil and then there are bits of seafood and an egg plopped into the middle. Sundubu Jjigae (재동순두부) is served in one of those awesome Korean earthenware bowls that keep hot and piping throughout your meal. It was a cold day on the day I had my layover in Seoul, and I needed something warm… because my jacket was far inadequate for the coldness!
I knew I was going to love the food Jaedong Sundubu (재동순두부) as I was waiting to be seated, I could just smell and feel that the food was going to be awesome. Another great thing at the restaurant is that you can dish yourself as much kimchi and other side banchan dishes as you like – so believe me – I took full advantage of the kimchi bar by scooping up quite a few rounds of kimchi. The Sundubu Jjigae (순두부찌개) arrived piping hot to my table, and it was everything I had hoped for – so soft and spicy and flavorful, and along with the rice, it was amazing!
If you’re in Seoul, you should definitely check out this restaurant, the tofu soup is outstanding. To get there take the subway to Anguk station, Exit #2, then go straight less than 100 meters until you see the blue sign for Bukchon-ro 2-gil, then make a right into the small alley way and walk about 20 meters and you’ll see the sign for the restaurant – but beware that the sign in only in Korean. Enjoy!
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