White people who were mocking Korean food also lined up… ‘Kimbab sold out crisis’ in the US

Korean gimbap has become the hottest food across the United States thanks to word of mouth sparked by the video platform TikTok.

On the 7th (local time), NBC News observed, “Kimbab, which began selling at Trader Joe’s, a large U.S. supermarket last month, has been sold out nationwide,” and added, “The sell-out crisis will continue until additional stock arrives in November.” In addition, it is analyzed that Americans are attracting attention to Korean marts to purchase gimbap.

In particular, it was analyzed that TikTok was responsible for the popularity of kimbap. Sarah Ahn, 27, a Korean food content creator, said in an interview with NBC, “I still remember being ridiculed when my mother cooked Korean food for lunch at a predominantly white school in Orange County, California.” She added, “It was frozen at Trader Joe’s. “When I saw kimbap, my curiosity arose, and I decided to post a review,” he explained. Mr. Ahn’s kimbap review video recorded 11 million views on TikTok.

In the video, Ahn surprises her mother by bringing her frozen kimbap to her house, defrosts it in her microwave, and eats it together. The two commented that it was “not bad,” while also saying, “It’s better than what’s sold at Korean grocery stores.”

Mr. Ahn said, “Another video I posted on TikTok was about being안전놀이터 bullied because of kimbap as a child. But now kimbap is sold at Trader Joe’s and is sold out. It’s a really ridiculous change.”

He also said, “When I was young, I was ostracized just because K-pop existed, but now people are in love with everything, including Korean music, Korean food, Korean culture, and Korean motherhood. The popularity of kimbap is one of the things that represents this.” “I think it’s just work,” he said.

The kimbap craze even surprised Trader Joe’s employees. A Trader Joe’s store manager said, “With the popularity of not only K-pop but also K-dramas on Netflix, exposure to Korean culture has increased. Watching Korean dramas also made me want to eat tteokbokki.”

MGH, a marketing company, conducted a survey on the grocery shopping habits of TikTok users in 2022 and found that nearly half of respondents, 49%, said they learned about new foods or snacks through TikTok. Of these, 27% said they purchased food or snacks they had never tried before at a grocery or convenience store after watching a TikTok video.

Ryan Goff, director of social media marketing at MGH, said, “The sell-out case of kimbap is a storm created by TikTok driving sales due to cultural trends.” “The taste was just right,” he said. He said, “Plus the price is 3.

With Trader Joe’s selling out of kimbap, Americans’ attention is also turning to Korean supermarkets such as H Mart. Robin Lee, president of Lee Brothers, an Asian food distributor, said the company was reviewing more options for importing frozen gimbap to the U.S., saying, “It’s good for everyone to capitalize on the success of Trader Joe’s Gimbap.”

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