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Instant noodle exports soar 28% this year amid pandemic

Instant noodle products displayed at a store (Yonhap)
Instant noodle products displayed at a store (Yonhap)
South Korean exports of instant noodles jumped more than 28 percent in the first 11 months of the year amid the coronavirus pandemic, data showed Monday.

Overseas shipments of instant noodles, or "ramyeon" in Korean, came to $549.72 million in the January-November period, up 28.4 percent from a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service and industry players.

It was well above last year's total exports of $467 million.

The surge was ascribed to the global popularity of Korean-made instant noodles as an emergency food in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that forced people to stay home.

Also responsible was strong overseas shipments of Chapaguri, a signature noodle dish from the Oscar-winning film "Parasite" and a mixture of Chapaghetti, instant black bean noodles, and Neoguri, spicy Korean udon-like noodles.

China was the largest overseas market in the 11-month period, with exports reaching $138.56 million, or 25.2 percent of the total

The United States came next with $72.84 million, followed by Japan with $44.98 million, Thailand with $24.66 million and the Philippines with $22.37 million.

South Korea's instant noodle exports came to $470 million last year, up from $410 million in 2018 and $380 million in 2017.

If the 11-month performance is any guide, overseas shipments of ramyeon are widely expected to hit a new record high and well exceed the $600 million mark, industry watchers said.

In light of instant noodles manufactured and sold by South Korea food firms overseas, global ramyeon consumption is much higher than the export tally, they added. (Yonhap)