The rainy weather these days make me crave for Sundubu Jjigae 순두부찌개 or Korean Soft Tofu Stew so much.
The popular Korean dish consist of soft tofu submerged in a deep-red spicy stew in a hot-piping bowl with ingredients such as seafood, sometimes meat, mushrooms, onions, and vegetables.
A raw egg can be put in the jjigae just before serving, to be cooked by the hot temperature of the vigorously-bubbling stew.
Accordingly, the dish gained even more popularity back in Korea after Hee-sook Lee’s successful chain BCD Tofu House which first opened in Los Angeles.
Nobody wrote a listicle on Sundubu Jjigae in Singapore yet, so here are 10 you can go for:
SBCD Korean Tofu House
Guoco Tower #B1-01/02, 7 Wallich Street, Singapore 078884
Te: +65 6386 6441
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 3pm, 5pm – 10pm (Mon – Fri), 11:30am – 10pm (Sat – Sun)
Known for its traditional Korean stewed tofu or Soontofu, SBCD Korean Tofu House offers a bevy of wholesome dishes and an organic tofu centric-menu.
As the brand’s flagship in Singapore, it is the first Korean restaurant on the island specialising in Soontofu.
While many other Korean restaurants serve Soontofu as part of an extensive menu, SBCD specialises in just that. I respect the amount of resources and effort taken to make the tofu fresh in-house daily, from using some of the best beans.
Hand-made fresh daily in the morning, SBCD tofu uses mature white soybeans specially imported from Paju, South Korea.
Fun fact: Due to its proximity to Korea’s Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), Paju produces the freshest-tasting produce due to the untouched nature.
The broth is made using a 10-ingredient secret recipe, put to boil, then left to set for a couple of days to bring out the full flavours of the ingredients without having to add artificial flavouring.
Choices include Original Beef ($21.90), Original Pork ($21.90), Seafood ($21.90), Oyster ($21.90), Abalone ($29.90), Intestines ($21.90), Dumpling ($21.90), Fishcake ($21.90) and a non-spicy sesame ($19.90).
The Assorted ($21.90) is one of the best sellers, which provide a variety of ingredients of beef, clams, crab, shrimp, and squid.
O.BBa BBQ Tanjong Pagar
63 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088484
Tel: +65 6222 0840
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 4pm, 5pm – 11:30pm (Mon, Wed – Sun), Closed Tues
While O.BBa BBQ is known for its selection of Korean BBQ dishes, do have a go at its Sundubu Jjigae if you manage to get a seat here (because very popular and long wait).
The Sundubu Jjigae ($13) is prepared completely in-house using the head chef’s secret recipe (no off the shelf sauces). The ingredients are also freshly prepared daily for the day’s order.
The stock used to make the soup base was flavourful, as it uses quite a variety of seafood from prawns to squid.
I found the bowl chock full of ingredients; base rich and robust, just mildly spicy, with that alluring seafood sweetness.
Plus, it arrived sizzling hot, and remained quite warm throughout.
Bonus: All six banchan I had were delicious in their own right.
Hansang Korean Family Restaurant
10 Sinaran Drive, #03-33 Novena Square 2, Singapore 307506
Tel: +65 6397 6752
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
There are many Korean dishes served at Hansang, but one of their defining dishes is the Sundubu Jjigae ($18.80).
The stew of soft tofu is comforting and nutritious-tasting, and has good reasons why it is so popular here.
The recipe has been passed down generations, and what makes it different is the home-made tofu that is made fresh weekly using one of the best types of beans specially imported from Korea.
I found that the silken tofu had that curd-creamy and melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Versions available include Kimchi, Pork & Cheese, Spicy Pork, Spicy Seafood, and a Non-Spicy Seafood Sunbudu. Plus this comes with stone pot rice, a daily fish, and banchan. (Though I wished that the banchan was present before the food rather than together, as we waited quite a long while for any food to come.)
Tokyo Sundubu – Raffles City
252 North Bridge Road, #B1-16 Raffles City Singapore 179103 (City Hall MRT)
Tel: +65 6252 2425
Opening Hours: 11am – 9pm (Mon – Sun)
Tokyo Sundubu – Suntec City
3 Temasek Boulevard, #03-312, Suntec City Mall Tower 1, Eat At Seven, Singapore 038983 (Promenade MRT)
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 9:30pm (Mon – Sun)
Before you go “These are Korean stews in a Japanese restaurant?” feeling immaterially confused, Tokyo Sundubu is a chain from Japan opened at Suntec’s City Eat At Seven.
There are more than 20 Sundubu types offered here, from Japanese Oyster, 5-Vege, Kimchi, Seafood, Asari Clam, Kuro-Buta, Miso Butter, Cheese to Curry. Each Sundubu bowl comes with ingredients of house-made Tofu, Egg, Spring Onions, Asari Clam,
The price ranges from $15 to $30, which is complemented with a bowl of rice and namuru (vegetable side dish).
Three bases are available, of which the Japanese Miso and Salt & Ginger are spicy.
For a start, I would recommend a Level 2 “Japan Standard” of spiciness. This goes up to Level 4 of “Extra Spicy”.
I got a Health and Beauty Sundubu Level 3 “Singapore Standard” with a miso base. This comes with extra pieces of chicken and a glob of “collagen” which you mix in while sizzling hot.
Anyway, the gochujang and miso base probably covered up the collagen taste, but the house-made tofu which contained soy milk was incredibly tasty and smooth. This was the highlight of the entire bowl.
Compared to a usual jjigae which could have that one-dimensional taste at times, this Sundubu had many layers, and felt more comforting and heartening. Even a friend who usually refrain from gochujang-added dishes, gave this a thumbs up.
The spiciness was also more subtle instead of straight-on-fiery, such that the natural tastes of the ingredients still managed to shine through.
Daebak Korean Restaurant
8 Wilkie Road, Wilkie Edge #01-18, Singapore 228095
Opening Hours: 10am – 9pm (Mon – Sat), 11am – 9pm (Sun)
The one thing that will catch your attention at Daebak Korean Restaurant is that their Spicy Seafood Tofu Soup is priced affordably at $8.
The broth is made up of 26 over ingredients including garlic, ginger, chilli and more. Accordingly, the special recipe formulated helps them bring out the more traditional Korean taste.
Even at its pricing, there are quite a number of seafood and vegetables within including prawns, cuttlefish, mushrooms, complete with tofu, egg and glass noodles.
Compared to other Sundubu which I felt are generally richer, this has a cleaner taste and not so thick in terms of the base. So depends on what styles you like. Yi-yeol-chi-yeol!”
Three Meals A Day
12 Chun Tin Road, Singapore 599599
Tel: +65 6463 2346
Opening Hours: 12pm – 3:30pm, 6pm – 10:30pm (Tues – Sat), 12:30pm – 3:30pm, 6pm – 9:30pm (Sun), Closed Mon
Three Meals A Day is a popular Korean reality cooking show, and also the name of an under-the-radar Korean restaurant at Chun Tin Road (5 minutes’ walk from Beauty World).
The Korean family restaurant may not have much social media presence, but was almost full-house during a weekday dinner. The customer base looked like Korean business people after work, and families who stay in the Bukit Timah vicinity.
The Sundubu Jjigae ($10) arrived piping hot, filled with ingredients of tofu, seafood, vegetables and egg.
There is something particularly comforting and ‘home-style’ in terms of the presentation and taste.
You may find the texture to be on the light side, somewhat closer to soup rather than a thick stew, nothing too fanciful or heavy, but still slurp-worthy tasty.
Bigmama Korean Restaurant
2 Kim Tian Road, Singapore 169244
Tel: +65 6270 7704
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 3pm, 5:30pm – 10:30pm
Former tutor and caretaker, Ji-young Nam Gung nick-named as “Big Mama” (looks like “Cooking Mama” in the Nintendo game), has set up a homely Korean eatery at Tiong Bahru after cooking for Korean students in Singapore for years.
Her Korean dishes are in between authentic and creative, because half are inspired by her own mama’s recipes while others have been fine tuned to suit Singaporean taste-buds.
The interesting thing about Bigmama’s Sundubu is that it comes in a “simple” size ($15) and Jeongol Hotpot style ($35) which is good for 2-3 diners to share.
The seafood soft bean curd soup with rice came with prawns (with shells) and had a pleasant seafood sweetness.
This spicy food is for 1 person. And we have #Sundubu Jeongol also which is for 2-3 people to share.
While I wished that the tofu could have been more silky, this was a belly-warming version, just right in terms of spiciness.
Seorae Korean Charcoal BBQ
Plaza Singapura #02-01 68 Orchard Road Singapore 238839
Tel: +65 9181 2709
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 10pm Last Order 9.30pm (Sun – Thu), 11.30am – 11pm Last Order 10.30pm (Fri, Sat, Eve of PH)
This vibrant and colourful Sundubu Jjigae aka Spicy Tofu Stew with Clams and Minced Pork ($14.90) from Seorae is served in a traditional Korean ddukbaegi (hot pot) and filled to the brim.
The star of this stew is the sundubu (silken tofu) that’s velvety soft on the tongue.
It is accompanied with other ingredients like clams and minced pork, plus some enoki mushrooms and an egg yolk to make it hearty and flavourful.
The clams give it a sweet, briny flavour that balances out the gochujang (fermented paprika paste) added to the stew.
Kimchi Korean Restaurant
Suntec City Convention Tower, 3 Temasek Boulavard #02-387, Singapore 038983
Tel: +65 6337 7811
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
‘There are four types of Soft Tofu Soup available at Kimchi Korean Restaurant – Haemul (assorted seafood), Daeji Gogi (pork), Dak Gogi (chicken) and Basirak (clam).
Kimchi’s version of Daeji Gogi Sundubu Jjigae ($14.90) comes with seafood-based broth, soft tofu, pork collar, vegetables and egg, served with rice.
Between all the stews, I actually liked this best. Perhaps because the taste was cleaner, with not that much going on.
The portion’s good for individual, suitable for ordering if you are dining alone or in a small group.
68 Orchard Road, Plaza Singapura, #B2, 47, Singapore 238839
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10pm (Sun – Thurs), 11:30am – 11pm (Fri – Sat)
For those craving for a hearty Sundubu Jiggae ($13.90), then the Tofu Clam at Hongdae Oppa should appeal – a soft tofu stew cooked with minced pork, onions, zucchini, enoki mushrooms, clams and egg.
The other popular favourite is the comforting stew of Pork Kimchi, made hearty with pork belly, soft slices of tofu, shredded white onions, fresh enoki mushrooms, and the iconic Korean cabbage kimchi.
Non-spice lovers can order the Beef Bean Paste Jjigae instead, included with US beef shortplate which is soft and tender.
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