ASK FOR SECONDS: I look forward to the five complimentary side dishes at So Gong Dong in Palisades Park just as much as the soft-tofu stew, seafood pancake and other Korean specialties. Crunchy cucumber kimchi, above, is one of my all-time favorites.
MORE CRUNCH: Fresh-tasting cabbage kimchi hasn't been fermented as long as the version served in some other restaurants. A third side dish is seaweed in gochujang, a spicy vinegared red-pepper sauce, top.
RADISH AND SPROUTS: Crunchy radish and bean sprouts are the other side dishes, and you can ask for seconds or even thirds of those you finish.
HOLD THE MAPLE SYRUP: A Seafood Pancake -- made from rice flour, scallions and cooked squid -- comes with a soy dipping sauce ($11.99, rounded up to $12 on the check).
KOREAN RIBS: The three meat-eaters in my family shared an order of Beef BBQ, left rear ($16.99).
DETAILS: Dinner for four was $74.90 before the tip. Still, four can eat well for under $50, if they limit themselves to a filling soft-tofu dinner with an egg, five side dishes and rice (118 Broad Ave., Second Floor, Palisades Park; 201-313-5550).
LARGE SHRIMP: We also ordered Prawns in Garlic Sauce ($17.95) and Sauteed Chinese Star Squash, below ($10.95).
DETAILS: Dinner for three was $76.30 before the tip, including two Wonton Soups to start the meal ($1.25 each) and a House Special Won Ton Soup for 2 to go ($6.95). Lotus Cafe is a BYO in the Home Depot Shopping Center, 450 Hackensack Ave., Hackensack. Open 7 days; 201-488-7070. Free delivery within 3 miles ($12 minimum).
-- VICTOR E. SASSON