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Discovery of fries

Posted August. 05, 2020 07:49,   

Updated August. 05, 2020 07:49


“There is a scientific reason behind our love of fries,” said Lim Doo-won, the author of “Discovery of Fries.” He is working as the head of exhibitions at the Gwacheon National Science Museum after obtaining a doctorate in polymer engineering at Seoul National University. “Human brains can sense that fries are energy-efficient and send out a signal to eat as much as possible,” he said. “It is human nature to love fries.”

“Frying softens food ingredient through heating while increasing fat content which is energy efficient and easy to store in the body,” Lim explained. “And the Maillard reaction kicks in, where carbohydrates and protein in batter are broken down to create more than 1,000 chemicals of delicate flavors. Fries are naturally hard to resist.”

Lim’s relationship with fries goes back further. His in-laws have been operating a Japanese donkatsu restaurant in southern Seoul for more than 20 years. “Thick pork cutlets that are moist on the inside and crispy on the outside are less popular these days as more people opt for thin cutlets with extra crispiness,” he said. “It is sad because I prefer thick ones.”

“The key to good fries is ‘patience’ because the firepower is not as strong at homes and it is hard to maintain the temperature at the same level. If you fry everything at once, the temperature drastically drops and fries become soggy. Remember to be patient and fry ingredients one by one,” he said. “Adding beer to the batter instead of water makes bubbles leave faster and fries crispier.”

Taek Kyoon Sohn sohn@donga.com