Sundubu-jjigae[1] (순두부찌개, -豆腐--) is a jjigae in Korean cuisine. The dish is made with freshly curdled soft tofu (dubu) which has not been strained and pressed, vegetables, sometimes mushrooms, onion, optional seafood (commonly oysters, mussels, clams and shrimp), optional meat (commonly beef or pork), and gochujang or gochugaru. The dish is assembled and cooked directly in the serving vessel, which is traditionally made of thick, robust porcelain, but can also be ground out of solid stone. A raw egg can be put in the jjigae just before serving, and the dish is delivered while bubbling vigorously. It is typically eaten with a bowl of cooked white rice and several banchan.[2]

Alternative namesSoft tofu stew[1]
Place of originKorea
Associated cuisineKorean cuisine
Main ingredientsSundubu (extra soft tofu)
Korean name
Revised Romanizationsundubu-jjigae

Extra soft tofu, called sundubu (순두부; "mild tofu") in Korean, is softer than other types of tofu and is usually sold in tubes. The sun in sundubu means "pure" in Korean.[3]


The origins of using unpressed tofu in Korean cuisine is not well documented, but records from the Joseon dynasty archives show an early form of sundubu jjigae being served. Some historians assume that unpressed tofu use spread to the masses during the Joseon dynasty.[4]


Following the Korean War, some American military servicemen who returned from South Korea brought home jjigae (especially dubu jjigae) recipes. In 1986, Monica Lee opened Beverly Soon Tofu in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, and it was the first restaurant in the United States to specialize in sundubu jjigae.[5][6] By the 1990s, sundubu jjigae restaurants were more popular throughout the United States.[7][8][9] The dish became even more widely known when Hee Sook Lee, a first-generation Korean immigrant, opened her sundubu restaurant, BCD Tofu, in Vermont Avenue, Koreatown, and expanded it into a national chain. The chain was named after the “Bukchang Dong” district in Korea where Lee's mother-in-law owned a restaurant.[10] In Canada, several BCD and other similar restaurants have been open in Toronto since 2001,[11] and can also be found in other cities across the country. The North American version of the dish was eventually introduced back to South Korea due to its popularity.[7]

See also


  1. (in Korean) "주요 한식명(200개) 로마자 표기 및 번역(영, 중, 일) 표준안" [Standardized Romanizations and Translations (English, Chinese, and Japanese) of (200) Major Korean Dishes] (PDF). National Institute of Korean Language. 2014-07-30. Retrieved 2017-02-19.
  2. 순두부찌개 (in Korean). EncyKorea. Retrieved 2015-05-01.
  3. (in Korean) "순-두부 (-豆腐)". Standard Korean Language Dictionary. National Institute of Korean Language. Retrieved 2017-02-26.
  4. 순두부찌개 (in Korean). Korea Food Research Institute. Retrieved 2015-05-01.
  5. "6 Chefs On The Closing Of Iconic LA Restaurant Beverly Soon Tofu". Zagat Stories. Retrieved 2022-02-24.
  6. Burum, Linda (1987-11-29). "Seoul Food for the Adventurous". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2022-02-24.
  7. Kim, Victoria (January 24, 2008). "Korean immigrant reigns over an empire of tofu stew". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-05-01.
  8. A conversation with Roy Choi (YouTube). University of Southern California Korean Studies Institute. April 26, 2012. Event occurs at 7 minutes 20 seconds. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12.
  9. Asian American society : an encyclopedia. Danico, Mary Yu,, Ocampo, Anthony Christian, 1981-, Association for Asian American Studies. Los Angeles, California. 19 August 2014. ISBN 978-1-4522-8189-6. OCLC 892240557.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  10. "BCD Tofu House website, "about" page".
  11. "BCD Restaurant, Toronto, Canada".
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