When the price soars for a national delicacy – Korean kimchi

The New York Times printed a fascinating article about how South Koreans are dealing with the soaring price of their national delicacy, kimchi: “Rising Cost of Kimchi Alarms Koreans“.

South Koreans typically make kimchi from Napa cabbage, radishes, red chili peppers, garlic and salt. Unfortunately, in just the past month, the prices of several of these ingredients have soared at a rapid clip: Napa cabbage up almost 6x, radishes up almost 3x, and garlic up 2x. All this makes for a national crisis that has created a political firestorm:

“The opposition Democratic Party also has laid blame for the shortages on a large river-reclamation project, saying it destroyed farmland that would have been used for cabbages and other vegetables, a charge the government has denied.”

Despite the disruption, some apparently are going with the flow. Lee Young-ae, who runs a food stall in a large market in western Seoul offered the following observations:

“The prices will go down….Sometimes they’re high, sometimes they’re low. Easy come, easy go. That’s life.”

She should become a spokesperson for a central bank.


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