Pulmuone's kimchi museum sees 40% increase in foreign visitors in 2023 from pre-COVID-19 period

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : March 25, 2024, 18:02 Updated : March 25, 2024, 23:25
Courtesy of Pulmuone
[Courtesy of Pulmuone]

SEOUL, March 25 (AJU PRESS) -- "Museum Kimchikan," a kimchi museum run by South Korean food product maker Pulmuone, was visited by some 14,000 foreign visitors in 2023, up 40 percent from 2019, before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pulmuone will increase the number of kimchi-related programs from the current two to four within March 2024 targeting foreigners.

Kimchi, a traditional Korean side dish, is typically crafted by fermenting cabbage or radish with a blend of red chili powder, garlic, and ginger. Its global popularity soared, owing to exposure in South Korean films and dramas. Once predominantly found in Korean and Asian markets, kimchi is now readily available at mega-stores like Walmart and Costco in the United States. According to data released by South Korea's customs office, the country's kimchi exports increased 10.5 percent year-on-year to $155.6 million in 2023.

Museum Kimchikan, opened in 1986 in central Seoul, is South Korea’s first kimchi museum. Visitors can learn how to make various types of kimchi and the kimchi-making process known as "Kimjang." In 2013, Kimjang was listed as UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage of humanity. 

Starting this month, Pulmuone will offer two additional kimchi programs for foreigners. "As the proportion of foreign visitors to the Museum Kimchikan has significantly increased compared to before the pandemic, we have expanded programs to introduce Korean kimchi and Kimjang culture to more foreign visitors," said Museum Kimchikan's team manager Na Kyung-in. "We will continue to make efforts to make the Museum Kimchikan a representative space for introducing Korean kimchi and Kimjang culture to the world."  

Kimchi was exported to a total of 92 nations last year. The largest importer was Japan accounting for about $61.4 million. The U.S. was the second-largest with $39.9 million, followed by the Netherlands with $7.3 million and Britain with $6.1 million. 
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