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Kang Nam (San Jose) report on Soon Dobu (tofu soup)

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Kang Nam (San Jose) report on Soon Dobu (tofu soup)

Alice Patis | Mar 29, 2006 12:10 PM

This place is one of the gems that doesn’t dumb down the food to appeal to the chain-loving masses in this area, yet it fills all its tables at lunch time even on a Monday. It’s in the same plaza as Albertsons, on the SE corner of Blossom Hill and Santa Teresa, a couple doors next to Chaat Café.

I’ve been here a few times and have only ever ordered the Soon Dobu tofu soup. It’s good and to my limited experience, as good as the ones I’ve had on Santa Clara’s soon dobu row. The tofu is not made in-house, but the soup has a rich flavor without being overly salty, and it’s chock full of creamy/custardy tofu and the item you ordered (meat, seafood or mushrooms).

Besides soon dobu they have a variety of sizzling platter Korean bbq for $7.99 ($8.99 for kalbi). Also Bi Bim Bab in regular bowl or stone bowl, and Korean pancake.

Every meal starts with a complimentary tofu/peanut salad with a lemony sweet dressing. Soon after comes the array of panchan shown below. I like/love all of them. Nothing is too weird (except maybe the seaweed salad which I love for its briny crunchiness but might turn someone off if they've never had seaweed), so if you’re new to panchan this would be a good place. The kimchee is not spicy at all despite the bright red color, but if you love kimchee, you may think it's not flavorful enough. The cold cabbage & radish "water" is refreshingly tart and bright and an awesome palate cleanser.

The tofu soup arrives violently bubbling (left photo), with a small egg for you to crack into the soup. This time I got the seafood soon dobu (all tofu soups are $8.99). It had 2 small shrimp (love sucking the soup out of these guys), 3 clams, and a lot (I stopped counting after 15) small whole clam meats. The rice is a perfect sticky texture.

I think they might tone down the spiciness if you don’t look Korean. This time I ordered it medium spicy, but it was as mild as the last time I came and ordered it mild. But I’ve also come here with a Korean friend, and asked for it medium “like her” (pointing to my friend) and it came with a good amount of heat (not mouth burning after just a spoonful, but enough to feel some pain).

It’s a ton of food altogether, and they happily refill any of the panchan if requested. And if that isn’t enough, walk over to the back and serve yourself a soft-serve vanilla ice cream cone. A perfect way to cool down a burning mouth if you ordered the soup too spicy!

Kang Nam Korean House
832 Blossom Hill Rd
San Jose, CA
(408) 578-7888

Image: http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b39...

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