30 (Sat) July 2011
Hotdog with Megasauce and Honey Mustard
-Jangchung, Jung, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
Foreign condiments, like all foreign foods here in Korea, inevitably undergo Koreanization of some sort once they enter the mainstream.
Take mustard, for example. The Korean mainstream was introduced to mustard largely during the early 1990s by way of TGI Friday’s and other American family restaurants that offered new varieties of appetizers, such as chicken tenders, along with new varieties of dipping sauces, such as honey mustard – items so immediately and immensely popular that they were immediately and immensely copied throughout the country by various types of establishments serving western-style food, particularly cheap drinking holes where chicken tenders with honey mustard sauce make an ideal accompaniment to draft beer. Korea did not yet, and still doesn’t really, have much of a sandwich or hotdog culture through which unadulterated mustards (e.g., dijon, whole seed, yellow) may have gained a foothold. Although burgers had been around for a few years, the tiny dollops of mustard mixed in with the ketchup and mayonnaise and other sauces were too indistinct to raise much awareness. As a result, the concept of mustard in Korea soon became identified with honey mustard. In supermarkets, the condiment aisle is stocked only with honey mustard, which is now produced domestically; other mustards might be available in a separate “imports” corner, if any.
So, I was not surprised to discover that the hotdog at the movie theater came with honey mustard.
I was, however, a bit surprised to discover that the multiplex’s proprietary “Megasauce” was an unfortunate blend of ketchup and sweet pickle relish. Contrary to the broad generalization asserted above, ketchup has valiantly maintained its purity in Korea, despite being the most mainstream foreign condiment of all. Then again, the use of ketchup on certain foods does seem distinctly Korean, as on fried rice.
I’ll reserve my comments on the Koreanization of the hotdog – i.e., the frankfurter sausage itself – for another day.
(See also FOODS.)
(See also PLACES.)