Shake Shack is catching flak for a limited-edition menu of “Korean-style” choices that critics say is a “lazy” interpretation of Korean fried hen.
The menu, which launched within the U.S. final week, includes a “gochujang-glazed crispy hen breast” over “white kimchi slaw and toasted sesame seeds,” in response to a release. There are additionally Korean Gochujang Chick’n Bites and Korean Gochujang Fries, that are served with “spicy-sweet gochujang mayo sauce.”
This week, because the sandwich rolled out to eating places, many meals writers and Korean Individuals expressed criticism online in regards to the sandwich.
“That is … so boring. sure, slap some gochujang on one thing and it’s korean,” Giaae Kwon, a New York-based meals author tweeted. “that is simply so lazy, i can’t even be insulted as a result of that will be a waste of power on my finish.”
Noah Cho, a Korean American meals author based mostly within the Bay Space, advised TODAY Food that he agrees with that sentiment.
“What it actually boils all the way down to for me is that I don’t assume they actually thought of what makes Korean fried hen Korean,” he defined. “They appear to assume gochujang was the first ingredient.”
Cho defined that it is only a taste, one in every of many utilized in Korean fried hen. The true key to Korean-style fried hen is within the double-frying technique, he stated.
“They fry the hen, then let it cool, then fry it once more,” he defined. “The cliché they use to explain it’s ‘shatteringly crisp.'”
He added that, whereas Korean fried hen is usually coated in sauce, gochujang is only one of many choices.
“I simply take difficulty with the concept gochujang makes one thing Korean,” Cho stated, including that he is “fairly drained” of the cultural appropriation dialog.
“I don’t begrudge anyone that desires to make Korean meals, and I don’t assume I’d have cared if Shake Shake had made a Korean fried hen, in the event that they’d completed it the best way I’d described it,” he continued. “I feel the laziness is all the time the place folks get irked. I’m not a purist. I put cheese on ramen — I’m well-known for that. I’m not a purist in terms of Asian meals. I simply get irritated when it’s lazy.”
When requested for remark, a Shake Shack spokesperson advised TODAY, “As a worldwide enterprise with greater than 300 Shacks internationally, we’re all the time impressed by native flavors and cuisines in markets the place we function. The Gochujang Chick’n Shack that’s served in our South Korea Shacks was developed by our native group.
“It was so beloved in South Korea that we have been excited to convey a model of it stateside. Our group labored intently with our culinary companions in South Korea to develop a model that remained true to what we serve in South Korea.”
The assertion goes on to say that the chain “partnered with Chong Choi, the Korea-born founding father of Choi’s Kimchi Firm in Portland, who made us a customized mix of kimchi for our slaw.”
“We referred to as our sandwich Korean-style as a result of it was impressed by conventional Korean fried hen, however we acknowledge it’s not the identical,” the assertion continues. “We felt it was necessary to share the affect behind the menu.”
Whereas Shake Shack has not carried out any modifications to date, it stated that “Listening to our company and the group is important and we welcome all suggestions that may assist us higher signify the meals we serve, together with its cultural origins. And we encourage our company to discover the various superb eating places that function unbelievable, inspiring meals from Korean cooks throughout the globe.”
“It’s not that egregious,” Cho advised TODAY, with a sigh. “It’s extra like they tried. They acquired it mistaken however they tried.”
EDITOR’S NOTE (Jan. 12, 2021, 11:01 a.m. EST): This text has been up to date with an announcement from Shake Shack.
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