Monday, August 22, 2011

Jong Ka Jib Soft Tofu Restaurant

6600 N 5th St
Philadelphia, PA 19120
(215) 924-0100

Cool Sunday summer rain storms are one of the things that just scream comfort bowl. Although I am not a warm weather soup person, it's tough to pass up Jong Ka Jib when I am up in the "Koreatown" section of Olney. Sundubu, served scorching hot, is the house specialty on this succinct menu. This is spicy, comforting love in a bowl so hot that it could easily cause third degree burns.

Yes it may take a while to get there, and sure, you COULD get carjacked on the way, but this is some seriously great food.

The banchan is as good as anywhere, and generously portioned. Fermented brown beans and sprouts were among my favorites. The mushroom tofu is served HOT. I mean, see for yourself below.

The mushroom soft tofu was a perfect compliment to the thunderstorms rolling through. I seriously think this is some of the best soup around. It's served alongside a stone bowl that cooks the rice from the bottom, resulting in delicious crunchy rice to scoop up alongside the soup. The flavors are so rich with umami it's mesmerizing. As it breaks apart, the little pieces of perfectly smooth tofu turn it into a stew. I asked for it served extra spicy, but I think that they still held back. I could have used a BIT more heat, but it was so balanced that I hardly realized I was sweating by the end of the meal. An egg is served alongside for you to crack into the boiling hot soup if you so desire. I cracked two.

As I also craving some gochujang, I got bibimbap as well. They actually served the sizzling stone bowl with its own container of gochujang. Right there was a major bonus for me, as I usually end up having to order extra anyway. This way I was free to indulge my desire to over-sauce my crispy bowl. It's a solid rendition of one of the more pedestrian items on the menu of Korean places everywhere, yet one I still love. Crispy rice and red pepper paste get me every time.

You can do worse than spending an afternoon checking out Jong Ka Jib, and getting your soft tofu on. Such as whatever you usually do on Sundays. While you are up there check out Sol Levante Bakery. The sweet cream breads are outstanding. Lastly, the grocery store in the same strip has some of the best pre-made banchan around.


Pete LaVerghetta said...

It's great, and a bargain. It's not exactly in Olney, but that is splitting hairs. I guess if you drive north on 5th St it might be a little sketchy, but car jacking? C'mon, some of us live around here and you're hurting our feelings.

Philly Phoodie said...

Pete, no offense! I am just as likely to get mugged in my hood. I should clarify that joke, I was just joking. Also, I can't tell if it's Olney or Oak Lane because I just lean my head down and keep driving.

CELee said...

The food is excellent. I'd steer away from the grilled meats (mediocre to bad), but definitely, go for the tofu, bibimbap, and scallion and seafood pancakes. Also, don't get anything less spicy than medium- you'll be missing out on a a lot of other flavors than just heat.

Pete, I'm with you on backing Olney. I used to live there. It's not the safest place in Philly, but it's really not bad. Don't think that every brown, black, or yellow wants to rob you. Then again, this place has been robbed a few times...

Pete LaVerghetta said...

They do have this sweet decal on their door. I took a picture last time I was there, because i was so tickled by the fractured English.