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Fried chicken voted most popular K-food overseas

Jan. 6, 2024 - 16:01 By Yoon Min-sik
Korean-style fried chicken is sold at a local convenience store in Seoul, Dec. 26. (Yonhap)

Korean-style fried chicken was selected as the favorite Korean food outside of Korea, according to the results of a government survey announced Thursday.

In an international study involving some 9,000 people living in 18 major cities across the world, officials investigated the global perception of Korean food. The study excluded anyone of Korean descent and surveyed people in New York, Toronto, Paris, London, Beijing, Tokyo, Bangkok, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and Rio de Janeiro.

About 16.5 percent of the respondents said their favorite Korean food was Korean-style chicken, referring to a popular local style of fried chicken served with or without various sauces. Instant ramen ranked second with 11.1 percent and kimchi ranked third, accounting for 9.8 percent.

Children participate in a kimchi-making event at a local day care center in Gwangju, Dec. 7. (Yonhap)

It appears that the preference for chicken when served in a soup was considerably lower than chicken in a fried form, as only 2 percent of respondents picked samgyetang -- a traditional soup made with chicken, garlic, rice, ginseng and other ingredients -- as their favorite Korean food, seeing it rank at No. 10 on the list.

This year's survey results marked the fourth straight year that fried chicken was crowned the most globally beloved K-food. The survey is jointly conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and its affiliated Korean Food Promotion Institute on an annual basis.

In the 2022 survey, which allowed respondents to pick multiple items, 29.4 percent of respondents chose fried chicken as their favorite Korean dish, with kimchi ranking in second (28.6 percent) and instant ramen in third with 26.9 percent.

While kimchi was not the favorite dish of international consumers, it was still the most well-known. About 40.2 percent of respondents said kimchi was the first dish that comes to mind when they hear the word "Korean food."

This was followed by bibimbap (23.6 percent), Korean chicken (16.2 percent), bulgogi (13.3 percent), and Korean barbecue (12 percent).

The survey also showed that a growing number of people are becoming familiar with Korean food. Sixty percent of respondents said they know about Korean food well. This measure is up 2.4 percentage point from the year before, and is on the rise for the fifth straight year.