March 2, 2008

Organic Tofu House: Ridgewood Finally Has Korean Food

Organic Tofu House
Organic Tofu House

The first time I ate at Organic Tofu House, there weren't any customers besides my mom and myself. I blamed the lack of tofu-loving diners on the blizzard that had blanketed the streets in a thick blanket of fluffy, frozen rain bits, thus preventing any cars from moving at a speed higher than "sloth."

However, when I visited again last Tuesday with my mom, my brother Bert, and Tristan, it was still semi-deserted. There was just one customer in the restaurant before us and no more had come in during our meal. It was a little late at the time—around 8:15 PM—and maybe restaurants aren't hopping on Tuesday nights, but I now fear that Organic Tofu House isn't getting enough business (a telling sign was the notice put up in their window within the past few weeks saying they would no longer be open on Sundays), which would suck most heinously because it is my closest source of Korean tofu stew and I need my Korean tofu stew, oh god, how I need those chunks of soybean curds.

For those of you who don't know (which is probably most of you as I don't believe the North Jersey food blog readership is massive), Ridgewood has loads of restaurants covering a surprisingly diverse range of cuisines. Don't forget that we're in suburban New Jersey, not Manhattan. I can think of five Japanese restaurants that I've eaten at (two of them being on the same block), three Thai restaurants, a Chinese restaurant (with dim sum), Greek, Lebanese, French, Turkish, Indian, Italian, pancake house, three (or probably more) pizzerias, four ice cream shops, and more, mostly all within walking distance of each other. But as far as I know, there was no Korean presentation until Organic Tofu House took the place of what was previously a Japanese restaurant, hence my possibly strange over-excitement when my mom told me that a tofu place had opened up.


First, you have your banchan of four small dishes and a salad. The first time I went we were given kim chi, chilled steamed broccoli and cauliflower, soybean sprouts, and tiny dried fish. The second time, the dried fish was replaced with julienned potato sticks (chilled after being stir-fried, perhaps?). Our banchan was refilled during the second visit without us asking since there were four of us instead of two, and the waitress (who I assume is the wife of the husband-wife team that runs the restaurant, but I could be wrong) must have thought we could more food after we had devoured the first round of banchan. Which wasn't necessarily true–god knows we had enough food, but we certainly weren't going to refuse more delicious stuff that was free. Also, I need all the vegetables I can get.

kim chi
Kim chi!

I liked how the kim chi was presented in a neat little stack instead of a messy pile. Not that there's anything wrong with a messy pile—I know it tastes the same both ways—but there's something more satisfying about pulling the layers away from the stack. Kind of like the difference between the levels of fun had while eating Pringles versus a regular bag of chips. Something about plucking those molded potato goop wafers off a uniform stack creates more endorphins than sticking your hand in a greasy bag of non-uniformly shaped chips. It's just human nature.

seafood pancake
mm, take a slice
Take a slice!

The hubcap-sized seafood pancake was generously stuffed with tender squid chunks, whole shrimp, and a bucket of green onions. I usually look at flour and egg as the main binding agents in pajeon, but in this case it was green onion. Everywhere. Compared to the other pajeons I had eaten in my life (three, perhaps), this was the best for its explosion of green onions and seafood. Isn't that what everyone wants? An explosion of green onions and seafood? Yeah!

fried dumplings
dumpling innards

Goon mandu are dumplings that are fried all around for 1080° (I didn't think 360° was a sufficient amount) golden crispiness. Underneath the delicate, semi-translucent skin was a belly of minced pork and stuff. Something vegetal in nature. But it was mostly pork. Definitely a good thing.

Pork soft tofu

The star of the meal is the miniature cauldron of soft tofu curds bubbling away in a spicy tear-inducing soup mixed with a smattering of an additional ingredient of your choice: soybean, mushroom, seafood and beef, seafood, kim chi, oyster, clam, beef, or pork. You can also just get it plain, which might be the best way to go considering how stomach-achingly full this will make you (which also has to do with the accompanying bowl of purple rice you will inevitably demolish in its entirety). Then again, the dish costs the same whether you get it with or without something extra; why not incorporate more pork?

Actually, I preferred the kim chi to the pork. Yes, I awarded a higher ranking to fermented cabbage than bits of what is accurately referred to as "The Meat of Kings." I found that the pork flavor was too overpowering, which sounds kind of dumb considering that the other flavors were tofu (more of a texture than a flavor) and hot hot spicy mucus-running hotness (a rather strong flavor). Why wouldn't pork fit in? I DON'T KNOW. IT'S JUST THE WAY MY TASTE BUDS WORK. OR MALFUNCTION.

kim chi beef tofu
Mm, egg

Raw eggs are served with the tofu stews in case you want to crack one in. As long as you mix it in, the heat of the soup will cook the egg. No salmonella for you.

Pork soft tofu, mixed
Mm, tofu

Although I didn't grow up eating tofu stew, it has all the makings of comfort food. It's hot, filling, and doesn't require much chewing. And you eat it with a spoon! The most magical utensil! Because it has two o's in it!

bbq bulgogi deupbap
No tofu!

They also have a selection of non-tofu dishes in case you're like my brother and find the idea of eating tofu as a meal completely inadequate. My brother ordered the BBQ bulgogi deubap, steamed rice with marinated beef. They also have broiled eel, pork marinated in spicy sauce, beef short rib, broiled squid, stir-fried vermicelli noodles, and something called well-being rice, written as "young ya bab" in Korean. Is this more magical than normal rice? One of you must know the answer.

Go to Organic Tofu House now! If it closes due to lack of business, I will cry and blame it on YOU NOT FOLLOWING MY DIRECTIONS!


Organic Tofu House
88 Godwin Ave
Ridgewood, NJ 07450


Posted by roboppy at 3:49 PM

Tags: Bert, Korean, Mom, New Jersey, Organic Tofu House, Ridgewood, Tristan


that tofu was epic win

Posted by: tristan at March 2, 2008 4:30 PM [#]

Oooowww.. The soft tofu looks yummy! And the kim chi reminds me of the first time I ever ate Korean food (in Soho, London). Nicely stacked and way too spicy for a simple Dutch girl ^_^

Posted by: Jenneke at March 2, 2008 4:31 PM [#]

Oh man, that tofu stew looks SO GOOOD!

I feel so full of FAIL for not having tried it yet. :(

Posted by: Sera at March 2, 2008 7:03 PM [#]

I would totally go if I were in that region!

I always try to make people go to my favorite restaurants too. I tell myself it's nice to get word of mouth advertising for the proprietors of such fine establishments, but really it's selfish because I want them to stay open and keep serving me delicious foods. Mmmmm food.

Posted by: yen at March 2, 2008 8:18 PM [#]

seafood pancake looks good, damn. want.

Posted by: raphael at March 2, 2008 9:37 PM [#]

That pancake looked mighty delicious.

I once tried to make my own seafood pancake. I think you can imagine how that turned out.
(If you're thinking "delicious," you might want to guess again...)

Posted by: Christine at March 2, 2008 9:56 PM [#]

Man, I'm moving to Korea in 2 weeks, and the pictures of your food just made me about a million times more stoked.
Have you ever tried bibimpbap? It comes in the same kind of pot as the tofu chigae, but no soup, just rice and veggies, but you crack the egg and after a while, there's a layer of rice at the bottom that is a layer of crispy rice deliciousness...mmmm nom nom nom

Posted by: Michelle at March 2, 2008 10:39 PM [#]

gah mans, cracking the egg is my favourite part!! :) back home, rainy days automatically = tofu stewsss...

come to think of it, never had any since I've moved here ^_^ time, ktown instead of chinatown?

...followed by olivia's churros, heheheh

Posted by: Kathy at March 3, 2008 12:19 AM [#]

Tristan: Come back for more! ^_^

Jenneke: The spices make you SWEAT! Oh yeaaah!

Sera: After Korean BBQ, we can move onto Korean tofu!

Yen: But I don't want it to get TOO crowded so I can't get a table, right? Bwahaah...:)


Or Korea.

Christine: Aw...:[ Well I'm sure I'd get the same results if I tried. And I plan to! Someday.

Michelle: Ooh yes, I think bibimbap was the first Korean dish I've had. I looove the crispy rice bits.

Kathy: Yeah, let's plan for Korean food next!

Posted by: roboppy at March 3, 2008 12:29 AM [#]

Mmmm.. the tofu stew looks delicious and thick...

Hey congratulations! your photos are featured on yahoo wooohooo!

Posted by: Trish at March 3, 2008 1:25 AM [#]

The food looks great, but I'd never go there if it weren't for reviews like this one. The problem is the name. It implies everything includes tofu, and while I am now aware that tofu does attract it's share of followers, it's not something you can use to attract customers in the throngs that yellow fin tuna, chianina steaks or suckling pork does. I think they'd be better off with a name that says something along the lines of: "We have awesomey Korean food that Robyn and her followers yearn for in their dreams!"

Maybe not those words, but you get my point. Basically everything you ate looks good apart from the tofu (yes, I'm biased), and possibly the pancake. You say it's good, so it's probably good, it just looks too weird to look good. Would still eat it (of course).

Posted by: Morten at March 3, 2008 7:18 AM [#]

herro? to-fooding time!

Posted by: janet at March 3, 2008 12:10 PM [#]

Gah, I want that tofu stew!

Posted by: Tina at March 3, 2008 2:58 PM [#]

Long time reader, but I had to comment today. I can understand where you are coming from. I go to my Tofu House in San Diego at a minimum once a week for my Miso Special Tofu soup. Nothing else will do. Maybe you should stand outside of your Tofu House with a sign for new customers :-)

Posted by: Christina at March 3, 2008 3:16 PM [#]

Trish: Hehe, I noticed that! Woo Yahoo! ...Ish. It's ridiculously how many comments our posts get on Yahoo; no one in their right mind could actually read them all. Also, people write the stupidest things sometimes. It gives us something to talk about at work. :P

Morten: I guess if they called it PORK HOUSE then people would go. ;) This name is very appealing to people like me who love tofu stew, but you're right that if people don't know what it is, they wouldn't go. There's a famous tofu stew place in Fort Lee (a high Korean-density town in NJ) and I don't think I cared much for it when I was little, but I'd love to check it out now.

What's "weird" is very relative, of course. I hope you get used to Korean food's so good...

Janet: UM, YES PLEASE, I need my Janet time!

Tina: I suppose there's good stuff like this in Queens? :D

Christina: Haha, I can wear a sandwich board and run around the neighborhood. "OMG YOU GUYS GET SOME TOFU!!" And then I'll be arrested.

Posted by: roboppy at March 3, 2008 5:35 PM [#]

I hope they stay open! I've never had tofu stew, but zomg, it looks so tasty tasty! I've never seen it on a menu out here, so maybe I'll have to make my own. I need a cauldron!

Posted by: Julie at March 4, 2008 12:45 AM [#]

Robyn, love, I already am used to Korean food, just not the sort that comes in the form of Tofu. You know my opinion of tofu, and this is in spite of me searching out each and every tofu bit I can find at all times as you keep saying it's amazing. It just doesn't work for me, though.

Anyheeeew...that's not the point. The point is that tofu isn't as popular as a lot of other food, and it's very culturally relative, which is why this sort of place works a lot better in a Korean area of a large city :p

Posted by: Morten at March 4, 2008 5:45 AM [#]

OMG TOFU is Great!!! There's this one place in queens I went to on a late night run once with a bunch of friends, and all they served were tofu pots! The menu was on the place mat and they were mostly 8-10 dollars each.....I regret not taking note of the name of the place...cause I wanna go back there but have no clue where or what's it called~!!!! LOL Oh wells! Those dumplings look yummy too -=D

Posted by: wonders at March 4, 2008 10:37 AM [#]

everything looks awesome - i'll have to put this on my list of places to visit.

all hail new jersey, king of states.

Posted by: michelle @ thursday night smackdown at March 4, 2008 12:33 PM [#]

If I could, I wouldn't definitely fly out to New Jersey just to eat there. I don't care how crazy my family and friends would think I was (besides the fact that I alread know that I am crazy; they just don't quite seem to realize the extent of my craziness).

Posted by: Christina at March 4, 2008 2:34 PM [#]

Julie: I've never tried to make my own but I would assume it's not that hard. ...Tofu and stuff. Actually I've never made any Korean food before! :(

wonders: I wanna know what that place is called too! :\

Michelle: King of States...I've never heard that one before.


Christina: And NJ is full of so many other awesome things! Kinda! Not really.

Posted by: roboppy at March 4, 2008 5:08 PM [#]

i'm in maryland and theres this korean tofu stew place, 'soondubu' as its called, and they have a pepper scale for the level of hotness you want. needless to say i always order the seafood with max spiciness...i'm literally drooling as i type. a matter of fact, i'm going there tomorrow. thanks!

Posted by: vince at March 5, 2008 2:27 AM [#]

dudes. i eat at this place all the time man. the short ribs are the bomb diggity. the tofu stew is the awesomest. everything on the menu is truly the greatest thing that has come in contact with my tongue. go there mann. do it.

Posted by: pepe at March 5, 2008 11:58 AM [#]

yum!! just had tofu stew at a new place that opened in taipei and it totally hit the spot. have it all the time in LA and can see it getting popular here. though they were lame and didn't have enough stuff for seafood pancakes at lunch for us (even though we saw other earlier orders coming out. boo)

Posted by: joanh at March 6, 2008 9:45 AM [#]

Vince: I had to order the medium hotness as my tofu place...that was pretty tingly! -_- I need to build up more tolerance, haha.

Pepe: Glad to hear from someone who eats there! Wooo!

Joanh: Not enough seafood pancakes? FAIL!!

Posted by: roboppy at March 6, 2008 11:49 AM [#]

I am a North Jersey reader (for the time being) and live a bit northeast. I think it takes me 30 minutes to go to Pal Park (try So Gong Dong for sun dubu - it's also pretty cheap), and 35-40 minutes to go to Ridgewood. Do you know what the general demographic is of Ridgewood? Is it mostly white? I live in a town where there are a lot of Koreans, so there are a number of Korean restaurants in this small town (mostly so-so). I am asking about the demographic b/c I think that's why the restaurant is empty or not very busy. That or not enough advertising.

Posted by: Patty at March 9, 2008 4:25 PM [#]

Patty: You make a good point about why the restaurant is empty. Ridgewood is mostly white (like the town I grew up in, Franklin Lakes). However, I'm sure Asians make up the largest minority and out of that, it ...may mostly be Koreans? I'm guessing. That's not many Koreans over all though...

People got used to Japanese, Indian, and Thai food, so I hope Korean is next!

Posted by: roboppy at March 9, 2008 5:24 PM [#]

hahaha the young-yang bap you mentioned was probably brown rice, or sticky rice with barley/wild rice and thus a healthier, "well-being" alternative to plain sticky rice. i'm pretty sure, at least.

i haven't eaten korean food since i was last at home in ca a few months ago and these pictures/descriptions are making me delirious!! why have i been depriving myself?!?! must fix this immediately.

and three cheers for organic tofu house! they seem to know how to deliver the goods! i hope they earn a steady, healthy following of regulars :D

Posted by: Yoojin at March 11, 2008 5:49 PM [#]

Yoojin: Ooh, I love wild rice. I would totally eat that.

FIX IT, FIX IT NOW!!#!@ Stuff yourself with soy-based Korean delights!

Posted by: roboppy at March 12, 2008 12:31 AM [#]

OMG. Korean food in R'wood! My mouth is watering over the idea of tofu stew. Do they have bibimbap too? Because then I might just hang there every night, and chain myself to the door if they try to leave.
I've been waiting for this for YEARS. Actually... a DECADE, since I first tried kimchi. This delay was so shocking to me since I do believe the largest Asian minority in R'wood is Korean (at least not long ago when I attended school there).


Honestly, due to the location and the name of the place, I would not have immediately guessed it to serve Korean food. Godwin Ave. past Whole Foods is mostly drive-by to get to the schmancy part of town, or to Midland Park. Or to Van Dyk's Ice Cream. :D

Posted by: supri at March 13, 2008 9:04 AM [#]


I don't think they had bibimbap...someone else has to open a Korean restaurant in the area with that stuff. I WANT!

The location is kinda pooty, it's true. And you're right that the only reason I normally drive through there is to get to VAN DYK'S! How sad. I guess on occasion we drive into Ridgewood from that side, or my mom did. But as soon as I heard "TOFU OUSE" I was like, "omg yes."

Posted by: roboppy at March 14, 2008 4:04 PM [#]

I live right near this place and you're right, it's great! I wish more people would eat there. Last Friday night it was pretty packed though so that's good.

The house noodles are really really good, too.

Posted by: Sara at March 17, 2008 8:51 PM [#]

Sara: Thanks for the rec! I'll try noodles next time.

Posted by: roboppy at March 18, 2008 6:37 PM [#]

wow your tofu pics look great!! I'm not sure if this is organic but they make powder packages at the supermarkets and all you need to do is add water, boil, and add your own tofu. Check it out on my blog: DIY Korean Tofu

Posted by: jen at December 12, 2008 3:09 PM [#]

You might want to try So Kong Dong in Fort Lee, if you're looking for soondubu deliciousness near NYC and in NJ. My family and I have been going for years... and we still endure the long wait and crappy parking. Nine dollars for a pot of tofu, a little more for a plate of kalbi (Korean bbq short ribs covered in... FAT). You also get (for free!) perfectly cooked white rice and the prerequisite pickled veggies.

Posted by: KC at March 17, 2009 6:49 PM [#]

KC: Thanks for the rec!

Posted by: roboppy at March 17, 2009 11:40 PM [#]

I tried the restaurant on your recommendation it was fantastic. The seafood pancake was off the hook. I like the fact that they put whole shrimp in the pancake. I recommended it to two of my friends already. What other secret restaurants do you have hidden away?

Posted by: Lori at August 29, 2009 5:35 PM [#]

Lori: I'm so glad you liked it! KEEP THE TOFU HOUSE IN BUSINESS, YEAH!

Alas, not many other NJ recs up my sleeve. I don't go there much these days...:[

Posted by: roboppy at August 30, 2009 11:32 PM [#]

comments powered by Disqus

stuff here


previous entries

» 03/19/14: Taipei 2011, Day 5: Mussels, Fried Oysters, and Extreme Soft Serve in Danshui

» 03/09/14: Taipei 2011, Day 4: Keelung River Bikeway, TAS, Beef "Pie," and Din Tai Fung

» 02/14/14: Behold French Fry-Stuffed Fat Sandwiches From RU Hungry in New Brunswick, NJ

» 01/27/14: Taipei 2011, Day 3: Taipei 101 Food Court and Dim Sum Dinner

» 01/15/14: Hong Kong Recap: Favorite Bites, Sweets, People, Etc.

» 12/02/13: Taipei 2011, Day 2: Shaved Ice Two Ways, 7-Eleven, Shilin Night Market, Etc.

» 11/05/13: My Favorite Places to Bring Tourists on the Lower East Side

» 10/23/13: How I Made My BMO (Adventure Time) Costume

» 10/20/13: Taipei 2011, Day 1: Fried Crullers, Bear Head Doughnuts, Scallion Pancakes, Etc.

» 08/19/13: Indessert, My New Favorite Dessert Shop Serving Tong Sui in Chinatown

Help out roboppy?

If you do want to help me out monetarily, here are some easy non-obtrusive ways to give back:

- Buy stuff through my Amazon ID!: This is the BEST WAY to help me out without throwing money at my feet. I buy most of my material goods from, and it would help me shittons if you bought stuff through my link.
- Buy t-shirts through my Threadless Street Team thinger
- Get webhosting with and enter as the referral

Thank you so much for your help!

Site feeds galore

 Subscribe in a reader

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


My Latest Posts on Serious Eats


Camera Info

May '10: Canon 7D with a Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC macro lens
Aug '07 - May '10: Canon 20D
June '06 - Aug '07: Canon Rebel XT
Before June '06: Canon SD 450
I "post process" all my photos in Photoshop to make them suck less. Of course, you need a camera to take semi-decent photos first, but without Photoshop, I am nothing.


Please don’t hate me if I haven’t included you. I tried to whittle this down to a manageable list, but there are just too many food blogs out there that I like! I shall update this list every so often.


A Hamburger Today
A Hungry Girl's Guide to Taipei
The Amateur Gourmet
An American in Ireland
Appetite for China
Baking Bites
Beef Aficionado
The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck
Bionic Bites
Blondie and Brownie
Boots in the Oven
The Boy Who Bakes
Brave Tart
Candy Blog
Cha Xiu Bao
Chubby Hubby
Chuck Eats
Comme un Lait Fraise
Dan Delaney
David Lebovitz
Deep End Dining
Dessert Comes First
Eat Drink & Be Merry
Eat to Blog
Eat Your Kimchi
The Eaten Path
Eating In Translation
Eating Asia
Fifteen Pickles
Food In Mouth
French Revolution
Fries With That Shake
Grab Your Fork
Great Food Photos
Goldilocks Finds Manhattan
Hello Sandwich
I live in a Frying Pan
i nom things
The Impulsive Buy
Just Hungry
Kathy YL Chan
The Kitchen Pantry
Law and Food
Lingbo Li
Lingered Upon
Maps and Fragments
Me So Hungry
Michele Humes
Ms Adventures in Italy
My Camera Eats Food
My Inner Fatty
No Recipes
Noona Blog: Seoul
One Wall Kitchen
Ono Kine Grindz
The Paupered Chef
Paris Breakfasts
Real Cheap Eats
The Scent of Green Bananas
Seoul Eats
Smitten Kitchen
So Good
Street Foodie
Sui Mai
Suicide Food
Sustainable Table
Swirl and Scramble
Tamarind and Thyme
The Tasty Island
Thursday Night Smackdown
Tommy Eats
The Ulterior Epicure
U.S. Food Policy
The Wandering Eater
We All Go Poopie
World to Table


Brooklyn Chowder Surfer
Edible Queens
Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down
Serious Eats

Recurring Eating Companions

These friends have lent me their stomach acids on numerous occasions.