Let’s Find Out Your Preference For Enjoying Tangsuyuk

First Off, Do You Know Or Have You Tried Tangsuyuk (탕수육)?

Tangsuyuk, eaten in Korea, is a Korean-style Chinese dish made by coating pork in starch and deep-frying it, then serving it with a sweet and sour sauce. This Korean-style Chinese cuisine is known to have been adapted by Chinese immigrants from the late 19th to early 20th century to suit Korean tastes when they settled in Incheon, Korea. Tangsuyuk is a popular menu item served in Korean “Chinese restaurants,” along with jjajangmyeon, jjamppong, and mandu.

China has long been known to use Tangchu sauce, made mainly from sugar and vinegar. The original form of Tangsuyuk in Korea, varies across different regions in China, such as tángcù lǐjǐ and Guo bao rou.

Among these, tángcù lǐjǐ, frequently consumed in regions like Beijing and Shandong along the eastern coast of China, involves slicing the tenderloin and coating it in starch before frying. It uses a thick Tangchu sauce. And unlike Korean-style Tangsuyuk, tángcù lǐjǐ does not typically include vegetables like onions or cucumbers and tends to have a strong sour taste.

Korean-style Chinese cuisine, influenced by Chinese cuisine, often appears quite similar yet different in taste and appearance. Just like how some Pho restaurants in the United States differs from Pho in Vietnam, food often undergoes localization to suit the tastes of the country, adding another layer of enjoyment, isn’t it?

There Has Been Ongoing Debate In Korea As To Whether It Is Better To Pour The Tangsuyuk Sauce Over The Dish Or To Dip It

The characteristic of Korean-style Tangsuyuk is that the exterior is crispy while the interior is moist and tender. However, there has been ongoing debate in Korea as to whether it is better to pour the tangsuyuk sauce over the dish or to dip it. The “Tangsuyuk Boo Meok vs. Jjik Meok Debate” continues for decades. When going to eat Tangsuyuk with a newly acquainted friend or partner, they often ask each other, “Do you prefer Boo Meok or Jjik Meok?”

What Is Jjik Meok (찍먹)?

Photo from extmovie

The phrase “찍어서 먹다” in Korean refers to the act of dipping food into sauce or a specific seasoning and eating it. For example, dipping meat into soy sauce. In English, it can be translated as “dipping and eating.”

What Is Boo Meok (부먹)?

Photo from nate news

The phrase “어서다” in Korean refers to pouring a sauce over food and eating it together. In English, this expression can be translated as “pouring over and eating.”

Let’s Examine The Pros And Cons

1. Jjik Meok (Dipping)

  • Pros: You can experience the crispy texture of the fried coating. You can also adjust the amount of sauce according to your preference.
  • Cons: There is the inconvenience of having to dip each piece individually.

2. Boo Meok (Pouring)

  • Pros: For those who enjoy the moist texture that comes from pouring sauce over the dish, you would like this!
  • Cons: You wouldn’t like it if you prefer a crispy texture. Additionally, there is a drawback where the fried coating may become soggy from soaking in the sauce.

Are you a “Boo Meok” or a “Jjik Meok” person?

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