Thursday, October 7, 2010

Kimchi Crisis

Kimchi is a staple vegetable in the Korean diet and it’s always eaten with every meal. Koreans have a very spicy palette, they love chilli so much they put a huge amount of it in their cooking. I remember the first time I ate Korean food, it was so hot it felt like smoke was coming out of my ears. The kimchi side dish is spicy too, it contains lots of chilli as well but it is quite tasty.

Photo of a typical meal I ate in Korea. Look at all the little side dishes! This is for LUNCH!!!

The traditional kimchi making season has come under threat due to shortage of fresh vegetables! The shortage was caused by unusually heavy rainfall for the past few months. That has resulted in cabbage prices to skyrocket to 10,000 won (10AUD) per napa cabbage, which is four times the normal price.

The prices of other important ingredients in Korean diets like radish and garlic are also experiencing inflation.

Kimchi manufacturers have already raised the prices of their products. Even restaurants have started to charge for kimchi, which is usually a complementary dish in Korean meals.

The traditional kimchi making season occurs at the end of fall. Families will busily make kimchi for the winter. However, due to soaring vegetable prices it is expected to hit the nation right at the hip pocket.

A Korean restaurant owner said, “I’m not sure if I should start to charge kimchi or exclude it from the side dishes. I have never experienced such a shortage of cabbage in my ten years as a chef running this restaurant.”

Many housewives have decided to skip kimchi making season altogether due to the inflated prices.

The government have taken action due to this huge concern; they will lower taxes on some of the vegetables and import 150 tonnes of fresh vegetables from China. These actions will help stabilise consumer prices after they hit a 17 month high in September.

Ref: Korean Herald

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