-Cycle 2, Item 110-
25 (Mon) April 2011
Dak Dori Tang
* * * *
by Nanny 2
with Wife, Dominic, and Nanny 2
This dish, dak dori tang (닭도리탕), is a simple affair consisting primarily of chicken and potatoes braised in soy sauce and chili paste. Other veggies, such as carrots, mushrooms, or celery, as here, may be included but not necessary.
The name "dak dori tang" is a misnomer, something of a redundancy, and a point of controversy. First, as described above, it's not a tang (탕) in the technical sense, which refers to a soup made from a stock of some sort (see 1.013 Daegu Maeun Tang, 1.020 Samgye Tang, 1.283 Galbi Tang). Second, "dak" (닭) means "chicken" in Korean, while "dori" (도리) or "tori" means "bird" in Japanese. Third, while Koreans appreciate many aspects of Japanese culture, lingering resentment of the colonial occupation is evidenced by calls to remove vestiges of the Japanese language from the vernacular.
For any or all of these reasons, renaming efforts for the dish are de rigueur. The most popular candidate is "dak bokkeum tang" (닭볶음탕), the "bokkeum" meaning "stir-fry." That doesn't solve the misnomeric "tang," which would then be rendered oxymoronic with the addition of the "bokkeum." A simpler "dak bokkeum" seems most logical, if vague and unhelpful, but in line with other dishes made in a similar manner (see most recently 2.171 O-Jju-Sam Bokkeum with Ddeok). But since when do food names need to be logical?