Food for Thought: Sopoong

New to Food For Thought? Here’s the rundown:

 

For a modest-sized city of around 30,000, Ithaca has an impressive restaurant collection. And since Cornell is a significant portion of that population, it makes sense to review all the options within walking distance from campus. From Waffle Frolic to CTB to RPCC brunch, I am determined to sample all the goods our lovely campus and surrounding Collegetown + Commons has to offer before I graduate.

 

Food for Thought is my weekly review, including pictures, menu prices, and of course, my honest opinions. The breakdown:

 

  1. The Food: pictures + descriptions + ratings

  2. The Thoughts: A more comprehensive review of the restaurant, including comments on the service, the wait time, etc.

  3. Conclusion: A simple summary and “Would I come back?”

 

Lastly: If you! want! me! to review something for you! Please submit a request to [email protected] because I love excuses for eating food and giving my unerring opinions on said food. 

 

………………...

 

Last week, we stopped by Koko (right up the street from CTB) for a casual bite of Korean food.

 

This week, I demonstrated my aptitude for long walks yet again and decided to review Sopoong (Korean: picnic/outing), located on Dryden Avenue, a step from Kung Fu Tea. Its main hooks are the kimbap and takeout, according to the sign out front.

 

The Food

 

1) Budae Stew: $12.50

  • Taste: 4/5
  • Value: 3/5

 

This stew is a full meal. I think it’s delicious, and even though it’s relatively simple (like all the food at Sopoong), it is just spicy enough for my taste. I always add in extras like egg when it comes to these dishes, which can really up the price (the baseline is $12.50), so I wouldn’t say it is the best value. As you can see, I added poached egg, although the original dish does include sausage and ham and your choice of beef, chicken, or pork (protein lovers, this is for you!)

 

2) Jajangmyeon: $8 

  • Taste: 3.5/5
  • Value: 3/5

 

I’m a sucker for thick noodles and thicker sauces. Jajangmyeon is noodles swimming in black bean sauce, and this time I ordered it with beef added in. It’s a heavier dish, but nothing special in my opinion — more so for those days when all you want is a simple bowl of noodles for lunch.

 

3) Kimbap: $3

  • Taste: 4.5/5
  • Value: 3.5/5

 

Kimbap fits the street food, casual-outing theme of Sopoong well, and honestly is a hard dish to mess up. You can get kimbap here as a main meal or as a side dish (which is the $3 option), Although I have yet to try every item on the menu, I can confidently say that the kimbap is what I would come back for.

 

4) Ddukboki: $7

  • Taste: 2.5/5
  • Value: 3/5

 

I don’t know if I just don’t like ddukboki much to begin with or if I have a specific issue with Sopoong’s version, but this dish didn’t really stick out to me as anything special or a staple that I would order every time. For the mid-size bowl, there was not much for $7 either.

 

The Thoughts

 

Following the theme of Korean food (I am slowly educating myself), I picked Sopoong because I see people inside almost every time I walk by. It seems more catered for takeout — the interior is tiny, and you have to squeeze into some of the seats in the back. I will say that I have noticed some increases in prices here, which I found surprising given how popular the place has been since its opening last year.

 

Inside, the menu is spread across posters around the cash register, giving a very street-food vibe that is also reflected by the quick service. I swear you barely sit down and the buzzer in your hand jumps. There is hardly ever a line, even though finding a seat is a regular challenge.

 

Despite the fact that the menu is small and simple, Sopoong is a strong contender in my mind among the Collegetown businesses just because it is hard to find somewhere you can walk in and walk out 5 minutes later with a roll of kimbap or some takeout ramen. The closest neighbor in my mind is Oishii, but their focus is more on noodle soups. It is cheaper and quicker than Koko, but definitely has fewer and less complex dishes. Nevertheless, I am thankful it popped up under my doorstep!

 

Summary This place is cute, fast, and has a few strong dishes that I love.

Would I come back? Obviously.