2.110 Dak Dori Tang


25 (Mon) April 2011

Dak Dori Tang


by Nanny 2

at home

-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea-

w W and DJ

Dak Dori Tang (닭도리탕) is a Korean dish.   Chicken and potatoes, plus other optional veggies (e.g., carrots, mushrooms, or celery), sometimes glass noodles and/or rice cakes, all braised in soy sauce and gochujang.  The name of the dish means “chicken (dak) bird (tori) soup (tang).”

Efforts to rename the dish are de rigueur.  One reason is that it’s not a tang, which is a soup made from stock.  Another reason is that both “dak” (a Korean word) and “tori” (a Japanese word) both kinda mean similar things.  (Nothing about the dish suggests that it was inspired by something Japanese.)  But really, the main reason is that Koreans are constantly trying to “purify” the Korean vernacular by removing Japanese-derived terms, which are perceived as vestiges of the colonial occupation – still a point of raw sensitivity even though very few people who experienced the occupation – it ended in 1945 (people born in 1945, like my father, are called “liberation babies”) – are still alive.  The most popular replacement candidate is “dak bokkeum tang” (닭볶음탕), the “bokkeum” meaning “stir-fry.”  But that leaves in the misnomeric “tang,” now rendered oxymoronic with the addition of the “bokkeum.”

Personally, I’m fine with the name as is, which is unique in its misnomeric, vaguely redundant awkwardness.

(For more details re food, see WHAT)

(For more details re venues, see WHERE IN KOREA)

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