Korea Faces Kimchi Catastrophe After Typhoons Cripple Cabbage Crop
A series of typhoons in South Korea this summer has left the country blindsided by a kimchi catastrophe.
Fields of cabbages — which are usually seasoned with spices this time of year and left to ferment for months to make South Korea’s favorite pungent dish — were wiped out across the country due to the extreme weather, causing prices to surge more than 60%.
“Cabbage prices are going nuts,” said Jung Mi-ae, a mother of two who usually loads up on the vegetable in fall to make her own kimchi. “I had to rub my eyes to see the price tag again because it didn’t make any sense.”
In a normal year, South Korean households buy cabbages and other vegetables in bulk to make kimchi for the next year, a season called “gimjang” and a tradition passed down through the generations for over a century.
But this year, the longest-ever rainy season as well as three big typhoons caused flooding in August and September, damaging crops and disrupting supplies. After Korea Statistics said the nation’s fresh food prices climbed 22% last month to the highest since early 2011, cabbage prices will remain high this month, rising about 8% on average from a year earlier, according to Korea Rural Economic Institute…
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