1 (Mon) February 2016
(Pan Pacific Manila)
with K staff and representatives from Yonsei University
Takuan is a Japanese side dish. Daikon radish, traditionally salted and left to dehydrate for a couple weeks, leaving it dense and chewy, then pickled with salt, sugar and vinegar, as well as yellow food coloring.
In Korea, where it’s referred to as “dan (sweet) mu (radish) ji (pickle),” the dish is completely mainstream. Served without exception as a free side dish in all Chinese restaurants (see for example 6.174 Jjajang Myeon…) or included as an essential component of gimbap (see for example 5.158 Bareun Gimbap), most Koreans wouldn’t even regard it as Japanese, at least not consciously, or willingly*. Technically, danmuji is a bit different in that the dehydration process is bypassed for expediency, leaving the texture much fresher and crispier.
*While eating a meal with someone at a Japanese restaurant in Korea — can’t otherwise recall who/when/why/what — I asked for extra “takuan,” to which my dining companion admonished me for not using what he regarded as the more appropriate/PC Korean term — another example of trying to expunge the language of Japanese references, even while the food remains (see also 2.110 Dak Tori Tang).
At Asunaro, the takuan is more like danmuji.