Sundubu-jiigae (soft tofu stew), with its unique flavor of beans, is a dish that most Koreans like irrespective of age or gender. Its taste can differ depending on additional ingredients such as short-necked clams, various kinds of marine products, kimchi, wild chives, and perilla. The dish is cooked and served in a clay pot called “ttukbaegi” that keeps it warm.
Sogongdong Dookbaegi, a franchise brand of Obak Miracle Inc. (500mrc.), is playing an important role in popularizing the original taste of sundubu-jjigae around the world.
An Ambassador of Authentic Korean Cuisine
Sogongdong Dookbaegi is an iconic tofu stew restaurant that has been in business for over five decades since 1962. It started franchising in 1999 and currently has fifty stores nationwide. At first, the restaurant served only one dish, sundubu-jjigae, and added two more dishes, broiled pork and broiled squid in 1975. Since 2000, Sogongdong Dookbaegi also started serving a Korean-style egg roll and various kinds of Korean pancakes that are popular with office workers dropping by for a drink on their way home.
Starting from Hong Kong (2007), Shanghai (2008), and Tokyo (2009), the restaurant franchise succeeded in overseas expansion, and now brings authentic Korean cuisine to foreigners through over twenty franchises around the world.
A Recipe Kept Secret for Over 50 Years
The key to Sogongdong Dookbaegi’s success is, of course, in the unwavering taste of its soft tofu stew. Regular customers come to the restaurant to have the dish prepared exactly the same way the founder cooked it.
Heo Young-seok, President of Sogondong Dookbaegi, says, “To reproduce the original flavor, we need to use the exact amount of each ingredient to the gram. We have been working with the same suppliers for 30 years to ensure consistency; a different food ingredient could change the taste.”
The know-how accumulated through many years of research and practice is contained in a manual and disseminated through training to all the franchisees to ensure the same quality and flavor.
The other two success factors are the daily supply of fresh ingredients and thorough training of personnel on the spot.
Savoring Sundubu-jjigae and Broiled Meat
Sogongdong Dookbaegi is famous for its sundubu-jjigae which is offered in several types: Original 1962 Tofu Stew, Special Seafood Tofu Stew (with clean taste and plentiful seafood), and Mild Tofu Stew with Clams (clean taste). The menu also includes Pureed Soybean Soup (creamy and soft taste), Fast-fermented Bean Paste (country-style), and Kimchi Stew with Pork.
Many customers come to the restaurant to have broiled dishes: pork and squid. A meal set with broiled meat and sundubu-jjigae can be ordered for 1–3 persons. A set for three people also includes folded egg.
The prices are reasonable, with sundubu-jjigae and broiled meat set for one person \8,000, set for three with folded egg \24,000, broiled meat for two people \15,000, and a single dish of sundubu-jjigae for \6,000.
Sogongdong Dookbaegi also serves various side dishes to go with a drink and seasonal dishes. Lunch boxes and rice in cups are available for take-out.
Park Sung Eun firstname.lastname@example.org
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