Photo: Moon Jae-in (left) enjoys a crab cake lunch with Joe Biden in his May 2021 visit to the White House. Credit: Office of the President.
South Korea’s leading conservative daily Chosun Ilbo 조선일보 has never passed up an opportunity to attack liberals, no matter how tendentious or frivolous. When former president Moon Jae-in 문재인 visited the United States to meet with US president Joe Biden in 2021, Monthly Chosun 월간 조선, the newspaper’s monthly magazine, detected a hidden insult in the White House’s lunch offering for Moon: a Maryland crab cake.
Quoting an Urban Dictionary entry, a Monthly Chosun article claimed that “crab cake” is American slang for “someone outside of your clique who hangs around idly and won’t leave.” Citing Urban Dictionary’s example sentence (“Man, I hate fucking crab cakes”), the article suggested that the lunch menu “apparently expressed Biden’s true feelings.”
Kim Seong-yun 김성윤, food columnist for Chosun’s daily newspaper, claimed that the menu suggested Biden’s poor treatment of Moon relative to then-Japanese prime minister Suga Yoshihide, to whom the White House served a hamburger. (“If well made, not a dish that lacks for class,” argued Kim.)
Awkwardly for Chosun, however, the White House menu for Yoon Suk-yeol’s state visit this week also featured crab cakes. In an April 25 article, Chosun Ilbo attempted to draw a distinction: this time, the White House was serving crab cakes as an appetizer, not the main course.
And oh, this time, US First Lady Jill Biden personally selected crab cakes for the menu, as they’re one of her favorite dishes. And this time, Korean American chef Edward Lee prepared the crab cakes with gochujang 고추장 vinaigrette, making them categorically different from the gochujang-less crab cakes that implied an insult during Moon’s visit.