‘K-food’ Best Represents Korea, Survey Says

October 21, 2013
"Bibimbap," mixed-rice topped with vegetables, is served with side dishes. / Yonhap

“Bibimbap,” mixed-rice topped with vegetables, is served with side dishes.
/ Yonhap

By Park Jin-hai

Foreigners think that “K-food” is the most representative item to promote the national image, according to a survey by Corea Image Communication Institute (CICI).

In the survey asking 154 foreign opinion setters who have visited the nation, through e-mail responses, between Sept. 23 and Oct. 18, the K-food category was selected as the area with the greatest growth potential with 41.3 percent or 62 votes. For 213 Korean repliers, 35.5 percent responded so.

The result is drawing keen attention as K-food ranked fourth in the previous survey a year ago.

K-technology took second place for foreigners (33.3 percent), while K-pop ranked second among Korean citizens (24.2 percent).

The status of K-dramas and film has shown some difference among foreigners and Koreans. While 27 Korean respondents or 13 percent regarded K-drama and film has potential, only nine foreign respondents or 6 percent agreed so.

The survey also showed that respondents, Koreans and non-Koreans alike, said the two most frequently mentioned words related to Korea were “Gaesung Industrial Complex” and “creative economy.”

For both of them, K-pop topped the list as the first thing that comes to mind, when they think of Korea. Some 39 percent of foreigners associated Korea with K-pop, followed by conglomerates including LG and Samsung with 16 percent, and K-food with 15 percent. Among Koreans, 41 percent said K-pop, followed by K-technology with 22.4 percent.

In comparison, the same survey conducted by CICI revealed that “separated country” was their first association with Korea in 2011. “Samsung” and “kimchi” were ranked second and third, respectively. In 2012, however, big-name conglomerates took first place, while “separated country” and “break-through technology” took second and third.

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