South Korea's exports of its traditional chicken soup to China shot up in 2017 from three years earlier thanks to the dish's growing popularity in the world's most populous nation, data showed on Nov. 5, 2018.
Exports of chicken soup, called "samgyetang" here, to China came to US$100,339 last year, up 22 times from three months earlier, according to the data from the Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp. (aT).
Samgyetang is a traditional chicken soup made with a whole young chicken stuffed with ginseng, sticky rice and garlic. It is widely consumed in the country as an energy-boosting meal during summer.
The value of chicken soup exports, which came to $4,567 in 2013, stood at $73,887 in 2014, $12,255 in 2015 and as much as $847,536 in 2016.
Last year's exports, however, dropped sharply from the previous year as China virtually pulled the plug on its sales due to the outbreak of bird flu in South Korea in late 2016 and Beijing's nontariff trade barriers over Seoul's plans to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense system on its soil.
South Korea culled more than 30 million chickens since the outbreak of avian influenza between November 2016 and April 2017, and Seoul was not allowed to ship soups made with chickens from farms near bird flu-infected areas to China.
The state company attributed the growing exports of chicken soup to the neighboring country to a hike in the number of single-member households in China and Chinese people's growing interest in energizing food.
The number of one-member households in China has surpassed the 200 million mark and is expected to account for nearly 30 percent of the country's population in 2020.
AT cited avian influenza as the biggest hurdle for samgyetang exports to the world's second-largest economy.
"China put a total ban on imports of chicken soup from South Korea between November 2016 and April 2017, which had a direct impact on a plunge in exports," the company said. (Yonhap)