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More Koreans Turn to Homemade Kimchi Amid Lead Poisoning Fears

More Koreans Turn to Homemade Kimchi Amid Lead Poisoning Fears

Posted October. 06, 2005 07:16,   


People are beginning to bring their own lunches to work ever since lead was found in kimchi made in China.

At one office cafeteria at a securities firm in Yeouido, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul on Tuesday, five female workers talked about kimchi over the lunches they brought from home. The favorite kimchi for Park, an assistant manager (28, female), was the leaf-mustard kimchi her colleague, Kim (29, female) brought.

She said it was the best for stimulating the appetite. Meanwhile, Kim took her manager Lee’s (31, female) sour kimchi, saying it was her favorite.

Ahn, the manager of an advertising company (32, female), said, “It is a new source of fun to try the unique taste of kimchi from different families. An increasing number of people are bringing their own kimchi from home, even when they eat out at restaurants or cafeterias”

Restaurants Trying to Prove Their Kimchi is Safe-

Restaurants are struggling to allay their customers’ fears over tainted kimchi, and are serving fewer and fewer customers.

Many restaurants have put up large signs that say: “Only Korean kimchi” on streets lined with famous restaurants such as Mukyo-dong of Jung-gu, Teheran-ro of Gangnam-gu, and Seocho-dong of Seocho-gu. Cafeterias in the office buildings of large conglomerates have followed suit, putting up signs that say “No Chinese kimchi” along with certified lists of their kimchi’s ingredients and copies of Korean cabbage purchase contracts.

Despite their efforts, the consumption of kimchi has dropped by half across the country.

A company cafeteria in Gangnam-gu, Seoul that used to be famous for its great tasting kimchi used to have a problem of people secretly taking kimchi. But a source from the company recently said there is no such kimchi stealing any more.

Cabbage Sections Made a Comeback at Large Retailers-

As more and more families decide to make their own kimchi, large grocery stores are setting up Korean and organic cabbage sections.

Lee Nam-su (53), the manager of the produce section at the Hyundai department store in Sinchon, Seoul, said, “These days, as many as thirty heads of cabbages are sold a day, a 150 percent increase, despite higher prices. We’re scrambling to make sure we have enough in stock.”

A source from E-mart said, “We make organic cabbage sections, mainly at newly-opened stores. Our customers’ strong desire for healthy food has driven us to renew the displays on our shelves.”

Jae-Young Kim jaykim@donga.com