Q: How Much Kimchi Do Korean People Consume a Year?
KIMCHI IS NOT A MEAL
Should you insist on overindulging in Kimchi, here is another reason why you should consider not doing it – Kimchi is NOT A MEAL. I repeat – KIMCHI IS NOT A MEAL, and nobody in Korea eats Kimchi alone as a meal. It would be equivalent to having dill pickles as a meal (hm… actually that doesn’t sound too bad, does it?). Rather, it is one of the numerous banchan (side dishes) that are served along with bap (bowl of rice) and guk (soup) in a typical Hansik (Korean cuisine).
This misconception has been further reinforced by the Korean government’s unrelenting effort to promote Kimchi as a representative food of Korean cuisine (one of their favorite way of doing it is having an event where a group of foreigners
are forced to voluntarily try Kimchi and say “delicious!” to camera). The best way to appreciate Kimchi is to enjoy it as an accompaniment to other delicious Korean dishes, like Bulgogi and Japchae. Mmm!
But still, most people eat it with every meal – according to statistics released in 2013, an average South Korean consumes about 48 pounds (22 kg) of Kimchi annually. The twist here is that the number actually reflects a declining trend in Kimchi consumption, mainly due to a change in their eating habits, where they prefer a low-sodium diet.[i]
At this point, you might be wondering how the Koreans satiate their craving for Kimchi when they are away from home? Well, they pretty much take it with them everywhere. (Read: KOREANS TAKE KIMCHI WITH THEM EVERYWHERE, EVEN TO SPACE!)