Infographic: Your favorite ‘Korean’ food may not even be Korean, according to a survey

Korean Food Hansik Survey
  • The Korean Food Promotion Institute (KFPI) conducted a survey asking Koreans whether they considered certain globally popular foods to be Korean or not.
  • The results revealed that among those foods, a majority of respondents did not consider fried chicken to be Korean.
  • The survey follows a previous KFPI survey in which fried chicken was deemed a favorite “Korean” food item among international respondents.

Earlier this week, the Korean Food Promotion Institute (KFPI) released the results of a national survey conducted in the fall, asking Koreans which of the most globally popular “Korean” foods they actually consider to be Korean.

Authenticity survey

The survey, conducted in October of this year, polled 1,500 Koreans between the ages of 19-69 on whether they considered 30 food items to be Korean or not, Allkpop originally reported. The results, released on Dec. 27, found that fried chicken, which was among the most internationally popular items in a previous KFPI survey, was not considered Korean by almost 64% of respondents.

Other popular gastropub snacks and fusion items deemed not actually Korean were cheese corn, curry rice, tonkatsu, bulgogi burgers and pizza (yes, it’s a thing), garlic baguette sandwiches and jajangmyeon (black bean sauce noodles). 

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Meanwhile, kimchi, doenjang jjigae, pajeon, japchae, kimbap, samgyupsal, hotteok and hodoo gwaja were considered by a majority to be authentically Korean.

Korean Food Promotion Institute Survey Results
Korean Food Promotion Institute Survey Results Infographic | Elizabeth Lee

Popularity survey

The October survey follows a previous one that was conducted by KFPI earlier this year, according to EconoTimes. It asked 8,500 respondents from 17 major cities around the world which of their favorite Korean foods they consumed the most. The surveys are a part of the institute’s ongoing efforts to share and evaluate responses to Korean food culture (hansik) with international audiences. The KFPI, established in March 2010, according to the Korea Herald, operates under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to support the “development of Korean food-related industries such as agriculture, restaurants and tourism.”

The results revealed that Southeast Asian regions reflected the greatest “level of awareness” of hansik, per EconoTimes, particularly in Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing and Bangkok. 

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The most preferred “Korean” foods among respondents outside of Korea, however, did not quite align with what Koreans considered to be authentically Korean in the more recent poll. Before being dismissed as not actually Korean, fried chicken had ranked among the most popular “Korean” foods included on the international survey, with 30% of respondents indicating it was the item they ate most, followed by kimchi (27.7%), bibimbap (27.2%) and tteokbokki (18%).

The previous survey’s results also suggested that overall interest and satisfaction rates with Korean food had gone up across all surveyed countries, with about 70% of respondents indicating they would recommend others give hansik a try.

Feature Image via Seonkyoung Longest (left) and Getty (right)

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