Sunday, February 3, 2013

Food that tastes better than it looks

At So Gong Dong, red pepper in a stone bowl of soft-tofu stew, above, and kimchi, below, may turn off people who want to try Korean food, but the stew is available without spice, as are a seafood pancake, barbecue, bean sprouts and other dishes

It was 28 degrees outside on Saturday when we set out for So Gong Dong in Palisades Park, knowing that it was bubbling hot inside the Korean soft-tofu house.

We find ourselves returning to So Gong Dong regularly, because there are no surprises at a restaurant that can feed us well for $9.99 each, including tax.

That's the price of a soft-tofu stew, which comes with seafood, beef, pork or kimchi, and can be made with hot water in place of beef broth.

For $9.99, you also get a stone bowl of steamed white rice, a fresh egg to break into the bubbling hot stew and four side dishes -- two kimchis, bean sprouts and raw squid in red pepper.

What's not to like?

A week earlier, we tried an Indian restaurant in Edgewater called Kinara, and was surprised by a $10 charge for a basket of bread the owner offered when he took our order.  

Thankfully, there's no bread at So Gong Dong, and nobody pushes food on you.

But if you want to get the attention of a server, there is a button on each table to ring a chime. 

Korean masks at So Gong Dong, 118 Broad Ave., Second Floor, Palisades Park.

After we left So Gong Dong, we stopped at the ShopRite in Palisades Park in search of spicy instant ramyun soup and bulgogi marinade, but were disappointed the store doesn't stock any Korean food.

The young employee who I asked for help led me to the aisle with "Asian food," but he had never eaten Korean food and had no idea what I was talking about.

The Palisades Park ShopRite does have the biggest tropical fish tank I've ever seen in a supermarket. 

Hot cereal blues

This Silver Palate Oatmeal took on a blue tinge from the frozen wild blueberries I added, along with pine nuts, goji berries, dried cherries and organic agave syrup.

A 16-ounce box of this outmeal is on sale for $1.99 -- not 99 cents, as I said earlier -- at ShopRite supermarkets with a store card and a coupon from the Sunday newspaper.

A taste of grease?

We received coupons from a restaurant in River Edge with the ambiguous name of A Taste of Greece.

I recall eating at the small BYO a few years ago and enjoying the Greek food (935C Kinderkamack Road, open 7 days).

The name becomes a problem when it is spoken to someone who is not familiar with it.

So, you can assume this place hasn't succeeded by word of mouth.    


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