BACKGROUND: The present study cross-culturally investigated the drivers of liking for traditional and ethnic chicken marinades using descriptive analysis and consumer taste tests incorporating the check-all-that-apply (CATA) method. Seventy-three Koreans and 86 US consumers participated. The tested sauces comprised three tomato-based sauces, a teriyaki-based sauce and a Korean spicy seasoning-based sauce. Chicken breasts were marinated with each of the five barbecue sauces, grilled and served for evaluation. Descriptive analysis and consumer taste tests were conducted. Consumers rated the acceptance on a hedonic scale and checked the reasons for (dis)liking by the CATA method for each sauce. A general linear model, multiple factor analysis and chi-square analysis were conducted using the data. RESULTS: The results showed that the preference orders of the samples between Koreans and US consumers were strikingly similar to each other. However, the reasons for (dis)liking the samples differed cross-culturally. The drivers of liking of two sauces sharing relatively similar sensory profiles but differing significantly in hedonic ratings were effectively delineated by reasons of (dis)liking CATA results. CONCLUSION: Reasons for (dis)liking CATA proved to be a powerful supporting method to understand the internal drivers of liking which can be overlooked by generic descriptive analysis.