“What are you doing? Didn’t you read the sign next to you with eating instructions?”
“No, I didn’t know there were eating instructions. I’m from out of town (i.e. from America) and I read Korean at an elementary level, sorry.”
“This is freshly made soomdubu (tofu) that’s first meant to be eaten without any sauce. If you eat it with sauce, you can’t taste the true flavors and texture of real tofu.”
“Can I just try it again without the sauce?”
“It’s too late. The soy based sauce will have already ruined your palate and taste buds. Just keep this in mind the next time you visit or eat freshly made soomdubu.”
So, that’s my introduction to the passionate owner of Didimdol Soomdubu Jip located near Starfield in Hanam City, a place where tofu is made in the same manner as the famed Chodang Soondubu from Gangneung. The unique characteristic for this type of tofu is the use of seawater—instead of artificial, chemical additives—from East Sea, which results in very clean tofu that’s remarkably sweet and soft. So much that adding seasoning only lessens its natural flavor. The tofu is presented as the main in a magical spread that is jeongsik (set meal) and, like most jeongsik, it’s a stressful task trying to explain each dish so I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
Note: soomdubu 숨두부 is not misspelled; it’s a North Korean dialect from Hwanghae meaning to “breathe” life into the tofu after mixing in the seawater, which initiates the curdling process. It’s not uncommon to see older restaurants affix this name to their business as a tribute to this age-old practice.
Food: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Service: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Value: 5 out of 5 stars
Didimdol Soomdubu Jip 디딤돌숨두부집
Address: 287-3 Sinjang-dong Hanam City (경기 하남시 신장동 287-3)
Hours: Open every day 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Click here for an interactive map: http://naver.me/5nc3HEMy