Fried Chicken Tops Foreigners' Favorite Korean Foods

  • By Lee Ki-hun

    January 08, 2021 12:14

    Korean-style fried chicken, smothered in either soy sauce or red-pepper seasoning, has overtaken bibimbap and bulgogi as the favorite Korean food among foreigners.

    According to a survey the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs announced on Thursday, 13.3 percent of foreigners named Korean-style fried chicken as their favorite Korean food, overtaking kimchi (11.9 percent), bibimbap (10.3 percent) and bulgogi (8.6 percent).

    The survey was conducted among 8,000 people in 16 major cities around the world including Bangkok, Beijing, London, New York, Tokyo and Sydney.

    When it comes to the kinds of Korean food foreigners would like to try, fried chicken also ranked at the top with 29.3 percent. But soju (14.1 percent) and kimchi (9.5 percent) excited the least curiosity.

    Still, kimchi remained the most frequently eaten Korean food with 33.6 percent, suggesting that most have tried it already, followed by bibimbap (27.8 percent) and fried chicken (26.9 percent).

    Foreigners were drawn to fried chicken because it is easy to find anywhere in the world. "Fried chicken and bulgogi seasonings are quite approachable for foreigners," a ministry official said.

    Moon Jung-hoon at Seoul National University said, "Korea's fried-chicken businesses have invested a lot of money in developing batter and sauces to survive intense competition in the domestic market, so new original sauces have captured the tastes of people around the world."

    The popularity of Korean movies and TV shows added to the popularity of fried chicken because they so often show characters enjoying it. For instance, the 2014 mega-hit soap "My Love from the Star" showed the main character enjoying fried chicken and beer, which caused a sensation in China.

    According to the ministry, 36 Korean fried-chicken franchises opened 1,166 outlets abroad last year.

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