Samgyetang Grows Popularity in the United States

Kyung Ho Kim, Jan. 26, 2016, 7:52 a.m.

Samgyetang or chicken soup with ginseng is emerging as one of the most popular Korean dishes among tourists and gourmets overseas. Interestingly it is popular among foreigners during winter rather than summer, which is when Koreans usually enjoy the dish during the sweltering season.

Following the rising popularity of the soup, food manufacturer Our Home has been selling packaged versions of the dish at Incheon International Airport since November last year. "We sell between 700 to 750 packs of samgyetang a month, especially to Chinese tourists," said a staffer of Our Home at the airport.

Samgyetang is also gaining popularity in overseas countries. According to the Korea International Trade Association, Korea exported 2,196 tons of the dish worth US$9.85 million last year up around 28 percent compared to 2014. However, exports to Japan fell from 2,272 tons in 2011 to 888 tons last year due to chilled diplomatic relations between Seoul and Tokyo.

However, exports to the U.S. increased from 202 tons to 570 tons during the same period. The U.S. has now become the second largest overseas market for the dish after Japan. The government and food manufacturers plan to tap into more overseas markets by promoting the healthy ingredients of the dish. The biggest market would be China, which has become more accessible for Korean products after a bilateral free trade agreement went into effect.

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