'Kimchi Deficit' Puts Korea in a Pickle

Spicy side dish's sales fall from cheaper competition
By Michael Roston,  Newser User
Posted Oct 20, 2008 7:08 PM CDT
South Korean women make Kimchi at a Kimchi exhibition November 6, 2003 in Seoul South Korea.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Seoul is facing a ferment in its effort to promote South Korean cuisine around the world: declining exports of its national dish, kimchi. The country recorded a $77.3 million trade deficit of the spicy pickled cabbage and other veggies over the past 3 years, BBC reports. A government report blamed competition with cheaper Chinese-made kimchi for the "kimchi deficit."

The sales slump coincides with Seoul's plan to spend $40 million on quadrupling Korean restaurants worldwide over the next decade. The slide also threatens to reverse gains made since a parasite-egg scare nearly turned Koreans off of kimchi. Just how big is the dish? Consider that Koreans have a museum for it and down it with nearly every meal, AFP reports.