Global Press Latches on to Fake News Kimchi Spat

      December 02, 2020 13:25

      The international press on Tuesday latched on to a fake news-based Twitter war between Korean and Chinese patriots over Korea's national staple kimchi.

      "[Korea] has rebuffed China after false reports that it had won global certification for its production of kimchi -- a hallowed dish for Koreans," the BBC reported.

      Earlier, the propaganda rag Global Times crowed that Chinese kimchi has become the "standard" for the international market and Korea has been put to shame by being certified with the International Organization of Standardization.

      /Courtesy of BBC

      But that was a misunderstanding. The ISO only certifies things like work processes and hygiene in production facilities, hospitals and other workplaces and has nothing at all to do with defining what is or what is not an original dish.

      Secondly, the ISO certificate in question involves making a dish called paocai, which is indeed a spicy pickled cabbage dish from Sichuan but quite different from Korean kimchi.

      But once the Chinese report had sparked an online war between the terminally ill-informed, the government here saw no other option but to wade in. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said the ISO certification of paocai "has nothing to do with kimchi." 

      "[Korean] kimchi is often served in China under the name paocai, but China has its own variant of the dish which it also calls paocai," the BBC remarked.

      The Guardian was amused. "The very mention of the word kimchi triggered angry accusations among South Koreans that China was attempting to claim kimchi as its own," it reported.

      But it added that the UN "appears to agree that kimchi is South Korean, with UNESCO adding kimjang -- the communal act of making kimchi -- to its intangible cultural heritage list in 2013."

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