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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

South Korea: The Kimchi Crisis

November 9th, 2010 · No Comments

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My worst fears at breakfast did not come to pass. The hotel’s restaurant had kimchi.

The Really Red Stuff is Kimchi

The Really Red Stuff is Kimchi

Click on the picture above to enlarge

They did tuck it away at the furthest buffet table at the back, but I found it after eating a custom-made omelet, sausages, bacon, shrimp, salmon, and even roasted Patagonian Toothfish, which we in American call by its euphemistic name, Chilean Sea Bass. It was best buffet breakfast I ever had.

Another difference with this hotel is that the free in-room newspaper isn’t the usual USA Today. It’s the International Herald Tribune, the Global Edition of the New York Times. I read today’s issue over breakfast, starting with the front-page article headed, “You said how much for kimchi? South Korea in crisis.”

Kimchi is “the fiery and pungent Korean national dish that typically combines cabbage, radishes, red chili peppers, garlic and salt. The price for one head of long-leafed Napa cabbage grown in South Korea has skyrocketed in the past month, from about $2.50 to as much as $14. Domestic radishes have tripled in price, to more that $5 apiece, and the price of garlic has more than doubled.”

Most of the blame goes to the overly rainy weather this year. The crisis is so bad that President Lee Myung-bak says that until the cost comes down he will take the drastic step of eating only the cheap and inferior kind of cabbage — the round-headed variety that we have in America.

I’m glad he did, leaving some real kimchi for me. I enjoyed my kimchi for breakfast.

The only breakfast disappointment was the liquid refreshment. Always on the lookout for something new, I spotted “pine juice.” While it was tasty, it turned out to be regular old pineapple juice.


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