Kimchi is one of the most famous traditional dishes of South Korea that has now traveled across the world and wooed people. However, the side dish has resulted in hurting the nation’s economy. 

Before delving into why it is hurting the nation’s economy, let’s have a look at what it is. 

Know About South Korea’s Famous Kimchi 

Kimchi is a fermented vegetable dish that is eaten as a side along with every meal in South Korea. Like we have pickles, Koreans have Kimchi which has a lot of variations and is made using a variety of vegetables such as cabbage, radish, cucumber, or carrots. 


The dish has been widely known across the globe and the number of health benefits it has has led to its popularity. Initially when it was invented, it used simple cabbage, however, gradually, spices were added to make it more savory and delicious. 

When it came to be known around the world, finding Kimchi to consume was hard, however, as its demand rose, so did its manufacturing and hence, it is now easily available. 

Korea’s Kimchi Crisis  

Last year in September, Korea suffered from a Kimchi crisis as more than 50 acres of the cabbage crop was damaged, wilted, and deformed due to extreme heat and rainfall during the summer. 

In Kimchi, cabbage is one of the main ingredients. Otherwise fermented with spices, nearly half a million cabbage lay abandoned in the fields. For those whose day’s diet is incomplete without Kimchi, had no other resort but to eat meals without Kimchi. 

Less produce of cabbage led to a halt in Kimchi production both, domestically and commercially. 

Also Read: Why Are Indians So Crazy About Korean Cuisine All Of A Sudden?

Kimchi Imports  

As I said, Kimchi is the most-eaten dish around Korea and it is impossible to have meals without it. Thus, it led to Kimchi being imported into South Korea which in turn hurt the country’s economy. 

Last year, during the Kimchi crisis, even inflation didn’t stop the country from importing Kimchi-related ingredients, especially cabbage. The imports recorded stood at $169.4 million last year, an all-time high. 

According to the data procured from Korea Custom Service released this week, the Kimchi imports saw a 20% hike compared to imports recorded in the year 2021. 

South Korea mainly imports Kimchi-related ingredients from China and during the Kimchi crisis, imports doubled. In the meantime, South Korea’s inflation rate in December was boosted to 5%. This was more than twice what the South Korean central bank had aimed for. But in 2023, inflation is projected to decrease to 3.6%.

Kimchi isn’t just a pickle, but an emotion for Koreans. Not only is it consumed as a side in meals, but used to add flavor in soups and stews as well. Hence, seeing the main ingredient rot in the fields, Koreans had to import it but that led to the country’s economy being hurt. 

Image Credits: Google Images

Feature image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: WION, Visit Korea, Washington Post

Find the blogger: Palak Dogra

This post is tagged under: kimchi, south korea, korean food, korean culture, kimchi side dish, kimchi pickle, cabbage, korean economy, inflation, kimchi crisis

Disclaimer: We do not hold any right, copyright over any of the images used, these have been taken from Google. In case of credits or removal, the owner may kindly mail us.

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