Udayavni Special

What is kimchi, and why are South Korea and China fighting over it?


Team Udayavani, Dec 4, 2020, 1:17 PM IST

Social media users in China and South Korea are embroiled in another row, this time over the provenance of kimchi

Kimchi is a fermented cabbage dish that most people recognise as an essential part of the Korean diet.

There are many types of kimchi, a spicy pickle dish normally made using cabbage. Kimchi is often served in China under the name pao cai, but China has its own variant of the dish which it also calls pao cai.

Beijing recently won a certification from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for Pao Cai, an achievement the state-run Global Times reported as “an international standard for the Kimchi industry led by China.”

The mention of the word kimchi triggered angry accusations among South Koreans that China was attempting to claim kimchi as its own, when in fact the award covered only pao cai – a type of pickled vegetable often found in Sichuan cuisine.

Chinese netizens were claiming Kimchi as their country’s own traditional dish, as most of Kimchi consumed in South Korea is made in China.

According to The Guardian, “Its total nonsense, what a thief stealing our culture!” a South Korean netizen wrote on Naver.com, a widely popular web portal

The South Korean agricultural ministry issued a statement saying that pao cai should not be confused with kimchi, for which the standardisation has been set back in 2001 by the UN.

 

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