Taste as Governor: Soy Sauce in Late Chosŏn and Colonial Korea
This episode is part of a special series in collaboration with Gastronomica: The Journal for Food Studies, guest hosted by Gastronomica editorial collective member Krishnendu Ray.
Kyoungjin Bae, as part of a Gastronomica round table on Taste and Technology in East Asia, explores the production and consumption of soy sauce in Korea from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. Although the transformation of Korean soy sauce's identity in the 20th century is usually attributed to industrialization, Bae discovered a shift in the way ordinary people interacted with soy sauce. Soy sauce, in the early modern period, was home brewed. In colonial times (1910-1945), due to an influx of Japanese commodities in Korean market, consumers increasingly relied on their tastes to evaluate soy sauce and guide their choices among industrialized products. This, in turn, transformed conceptions of the taste of soy sauce and its identity.
Image courtesy of Kyoungjin Bae.
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