Why is cheese dakgalbi so popular?


Have you ever heard of a dish called “cheese dakgalbi”? This is a Korean cuisine which has recently landed on Japan and gained popularity among women customers in particular. The word ranked top in the “things” category of JK and JC Buzzwords Contest 2017, announced by AMF (headquartered in Minato Ward, Tokyo) which provides marketing support for female junior and senior high school students. (JK and JC respectively mean female senior and junior high school students in Japanese.) This reporter tried to look into why cheese dakgalbi has become so popular in Japan.

Cheese dakgalbi is dakgalbi, a Korean dish of stir-fried spicy chicken, served with melted cheese. Dak and galbi mean chicken and rib, respectively. So, the idea is to eat meat around the bone. Sijang Dak.r.b, located in Shin-Okubo in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward, is the first Korean restaurant that introduced it in Japan. Cooking ingredients vary from restaurant to restaurant, but chicken, vegetables and gochujang (red chili paste) are basically mixed with melted cheese on the plate.

The economic information site of the Sankei Shimbun reported in August 2017 that the influence of SNS (social networking service) was one of factors behind the dish’s popularity. The article said a number of women are keen to take photos and videos of stretching cheese to instagram them, which in turn is prompting more restaurants to offer buzzworthy menus on SNS. As of last December, Instagram posts featuring cheese dakgalbi numbered more than 130,000.

cheese dakgalbi
cheese dakgalbi

Announcing its “Food Trend Award 2017”, Cookpad Inc., the biggest cooking recipe service in Japan, attributed the popularity of cheese dakgalbi to two factors. It said, “Use of reasonably-priced chicken is budget-friendly and a small number of cooking processes can save time.” Besides, it cited a sizzling feeling as well as friendliness to SNS as the characteristics of dishes that became popular in 2017. Cookpad explained on the Internet, “The sense of sizzle is a situation where the sizzling sound of meat and dripping meat juice work on viewers’ appetite.”

Sin-Okubo is called a Korean town because there are a variety of Korean shops and restaurants there. Sijang Dak.r.b, which claims itself to be the birthplace of cheese dakgalbi, is visited every day by many customers. They form a long queue and often have to wait for an hour or longer before they can get a seat.

According to Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, Japanese who visited South Korea in 2016 numbered 2,297,893, up 23.4% from the previous year for the first gain in four years. The popularity of cheese dakgalbi might have played a part.

(Written by: Yoshikazu Kazamoto)



産経新聞の経済情報サイトが昨年8月に報じたところによると、人気の理由の1つに SNSの影響があるという。この記事は、チーズが伸びる様子を写真や動画で撮影し、インスタグラムなどへ投稿する女性が多いことに触れ、店側も積極的にSNSで話題性のあるメニューを取り入れていると書いている。昨年12月時点では、インスタグラム内でのチーズタッカルビの投稿は13万件を超えている。





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