What is the root of the word soboro bread ?

  • 3
    Wikipedia says it's Korean. Are you sure this is the right site?
    – Earthliŋ
    Jan 30 '17 at 1:08
  • 3
    There is a dish called そぼろ in Japan, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the korean soboro bread.
    – Jimmy
    Jan 30 '17 at 4:19

I see evidence in Korean-language sources (such as Naver) that KO [소]{so}[보]{bo}[로]{ro} probably comes from JA そ{so}ぼ{bo}ろ{ro}.

The Japanese food そぼろ is essentially powdered fish. However, according to my copy of Shogakukan's 国語大辞典 ("Big Dictionary of Japanese"), the term そぼろ can also refer to something that is clumped together irregularly. The initial part of そぼろ consists of そ{so}ぼ{bo}, a root found in various terms with common themes of "ragged, shabby"; "sopping wet"; "drizzle, gentle rain". The ending ろ{ro} is a suffix indicating state, and this is probably related to the ら{ra} ending (further suffixed with か{ka} as らか{raka}) on many older -na adjectives.

The soboro in Korean [소]{so}[보]{bo}[로]{ro}[빵]{ppang} ("soboro bread") might conceivably borrow the Japanese sense of "clumped together irregularly" in reference to the knobbly bumpy surface, similar to メ{me}ロ{ro}ン{n}パ{pa}ン{n} ("melon bread"). Compare pictures of [소]{so}[보]{bo}[로]{ro}[빵]{ppang} and pictures of メ{me}ロ{ro}ン{n}パ{pa}ン{n}

I will research this more fully and expand this answer later.


Notably, I find that there seems to also be a Japanese soboro pan. See pictures here. I cannot tell if this might be a borrowing from Korean cooking / the Korean language. There's an interesting bilingual KO - JA blog page here that talks about soboro pan.

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