What’s the name of the food causing a minor crisis in South Korea?

Koreans eat it with almost every meal. When the country’s first astronauts went into space, portions of this food went with them. Each year, South Koreans consume more than two million tons of it.

Now, because of abnormal fall weather, there is a shortage, driving the country into crisis.

The food is called kimchi, or gimchi, kimchee, or kim chee. It is a fermented, spicy cabbage dish and the most common banchan, or side dish in traditional Korean cuisine.

There are hundreds of ways to prepare the dish, but many use Napa cabbage, which is currently in short supply. The price of a head of the cabbage is now more than $10.

The cabbage used to make kimchi was not named after Napa, California’s famous wine region. In fact, the name comes from colloquial Japanese. The leaves of the plant, especially when they are used for food, are called nappa. The vegetable is known elsewhere in the world as Chinese cabbage and celery cabbage.

Koreans have been eating a version of kimchi for thousands of years. They claim that the high-fiber, vitamin-packed food helps ward off disease and aging. No wonder, then,  that Koreans are now waiting hours to buy the government-subsidized vegetable.


The Capital Times June 4, 2002 Byline: Anne D’Innocenzio Associated Press Kohl’s Corp.’s merchandising strategy, which focuses on such basic moderate-priced brands as Dockers and Sag Harbor, doesn’t seem revolutionary, but somehow, this chain, a hybrid between discount and department stores, is fast becoming a formidable threat to retailers like Sears and May Department Stores.

And as the Menomonee Falls-based company continues its reach well beyond its roots in the Midwest — it expects to go coast-to-coast next year — it’s forcing rivals to fight back with new store formats and services that mimic Kohl’s mass-market approach, even offering shopping carts and express checkouts near the exits at traditional department stores.

Federated Department Stores Inc. has opened a Bon Marche branch in a strip center, rather than a more traditional shopping mall, in Helena, Mont.

“Kohl’s is a terrible headache for most department stores,” said Kurt Barnard, president of Barnard’s Retail Trend Report, based in Montclair, N.J. “A lot of companies are adopting Kohl’s model and are trying to emulate the success story Kohl’s wrote. … There is no question that competition for Kohl’s will increase.” Kohl’s edge over its rivals is an emphasis on big brands including Sag Harbor and Reebok that generally aren’t available at discounters. Moreover, its prices are lower than at department stores, and it also avoids regional malls where department stores are based, focusing instead on strip centers that are more convenient for customers. kohlsprintablecouponsnow.net kohls printable coupons

The company “has hit two trends,” said Eric Beder, an analyst at Ladenburg, Thalmann & Co. Inc. “Consumers are tired of department stores. They want the same brands, but they don’t want the hassle of a department store.” “A significant portion of the store is on sale every day,” Beder added. He noted that the company’s prices on key brands are about 20 percent lower than consumers will find in department stores.

Kohl’s, whose offerings include apparel, home furnishings and accessories but not electronics, is able to pass along savings to its consumers because of its strong relationships with its vendors. Its top 50 vendors account for more than half of its business, giving the retailer economies of scale in ordering merchandise.

The company also keeps overhead costs down by operating in strip centers.

Until another rival emerges who follows Kohl’s format exactly, most analysts believe the chain has little to worry about. Kohl’s, which has 420 stores in 32 states, says it will refine its format as it moves into new markets. site kohls printable coupons

Kohl’s expanded into the Boston, Houston and Nashville, Tenn., areas this year, and plans a move into the Southwest and West Coast next year, including stores in the Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix areas.

Larry Montgomery, Kohl’s chief executive officer, recently told investors the chain “has just begun to grow.” Daniel Barry, an analyst at Merrill Lynch, envisions Kohl’s will have 1,100 full-size stores over the next couple of years, with the potential for several hundred more in small towns.

Barry believes Kohl’s is “well on its way to becoming the retailing stock of the decade.” Kohl’s stock is trading in the $72 range, down from a recent high of $78.83 but also up $30 from its low of $41.95, reached in the market’s post-Sept. 11 plunge.

Since Kohl’s went public in 1992, its annual net income has increased 32.7 percent, while total sales have grown 24 percent. Same-store sales — sales from stores open at least a year — rose on average 8.3 percent over the past five years. Same-store sales are considered the best indicator of a retailer’s health.

By comparison, same-store sales at department stores have inched up only 1.2 percent, according to Michael P. Niemira, vice president of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Ltd.

Kohl’s only direct competitor is Mervyn’s, a 265-store division of Target Corp., which has a similar format. But Mervyn’s has halted expansion and is focused on revamping its merchandise to revive sluggish sales.

Bob Ulrich, Target’s chairman and chief executive officer, acknowledged at a recent shareholders’ meeting that Kohl’s represents a challenge for Mervyn’s, which is preparing to fight Kohl’s in California by upgrading its stores. Mervyn’s already competes with Kohl’s in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, Michigan, Oklahoma and Texas.

“We certainly do study Kohl’s,” he said.


ASSOCIATED PRESS Kohl’s Corp., the Wisconsin-based retailer, is expanding its presence coast-to-coast next year.

AP graphic Sources: Kohl’s Corp.; Sears, Roebuck and Co.; May Department Stores Co.; Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Ltd.

The secret to Kohl’s success

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Wireless News February 10, 2012

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More Information:


((Comments on this story may be sent to newsdesk@closeupmedia.com))


  1. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  November 26, 2013 - 5:29 am

    Fermented spicy cabbage? Sounds disgusting.

  2. Miss Misunderestimated -  December 1, 2010 - 6:37 am

    Its called………….. CHAI!!!
    (Triple M, you know what i mean)

  3. Roland -  November 8, 2010 - 7:21 pm

    Hello Ms. (or is it Mr?) Mitac,
    You sounded like you were an American-Korean who either was born in the U.S. or came there when you were young. Growing up Filipino with a delicate taste,I know the feeling of being repelled by the smell alone. (Have you heard of our “bagoong” or “patis”?) I would suggest to you and Amy-Lou to try it first in smaller pieces with meat, fish, noodles, or anything. That was pretty much what I did until I got used to it. I’m still not able to eat it without accompaniment, whether bite-sized or in long strips, but, like I said before, I’m stuck with it now for I just love it! So good luck!

  4. mitac -  November 4, 2010 - 10:09 pm

    yep..cx present,,havent tried kimchi,my mom loves it but i havent gotten my self to want to try it,it’s the smell that turns me off im sure ill try it the next time my mom makes one

  5. jakep -  October 30, 2010 - 11:03 am

    anyone from concentrix here?

  6. Amy-Lou -  October 25, 2010 - 8:10 am

    I ‘ve never had it but I would like to try it.

  7. Saf -  October 25, 2010 - 7:32 am

    @ Ethan Kim, Jee Min Lee

    Referring to something as a “claim” does *not* necessarily imply that it is untrue. Many scientific discoveries are referred to as “claims,” especially when it comes to the health benefits of various foods (ostensibly because the opinion of “science” seems to reverse itself every few years when it comes to which foods are healthy and which aren’t).


  8. #1 Skillet Fan -  October 25, 2010 - 7:31 am

    @Jessica: I totally agree with you! We do need a spell check for comments. Thanks for your comment ;)

  9. Curly Hair -  October 24, 2010 - 3:30 pm

    @jessica: You don’t need a spell checker. A dictionary would suffice. And you’re already on dictionary.com.

  10. Nathan -  October 24, 2010 - 11:01 am

    I had a Korean pen pal once and I know for a fact, they LOVE kimchi. And I think it is also kind of common sense that anything home grown in korea probably is not named after something in the U.S.

  11. Daniel -  October 23, 2010 - 6:19 pm

    I love water kimchi, (which is another kimchi variety)

    Contains ginseng, garlic, anchovies, and sesame seeds…MMMMM yummy.

    Gotta appreciate kimchi!

  12. Michael -  October 23, 2010 - 3:25 pm

    It would be very good to see the scientific proof of it being ‘healthy’. I have seen countless stories and reports of it damaging health. I have not once seen a report suggesting its medicinal properties. I would love to see them if they truly exist. I am really not trying to be negative, just would like to know.

  13. KIMCHI | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  October 23, 2010 - 2:41 pm

    [...] of baggage. — Sauerkraut and kielbasa also has curative powers. — Throw in a little cat’s paw and see if that’s the link. — Mayhap it’s only special spicy cabbage — to [...]

  14. ....... -  October 23, 2010 - 2:41 pm

    it is scientifically proven that it is great for your health
    but it tatses amazing
    i love it and i know that lots of others do too!^^*

  15. Chill -  October 23, 2010 - 1:52 pm

    i love it…i already tasted it!

  16. WCHUNG -  October 23, 2010 - 1:28 pm

    Korean Kimchi is made from Napa cabbage, which is the Korean word “Baechu.” No need to do research. Napa is also called “Chinese cabbage” as the article states.

  17. o.o -  October 23, 2010 - 12:20 pm

    It really has been proven that kimchi helps prevent diseases and is good for human health because of the garlic and other ingredients that goes into its seasoning as well as that baechu itself being high in fiber. Kimchi originates from Korea, and because of its popularity, the Japanese created their own kimchi taking some references from Korea’s.

  18. BaknotPark -  October 23, 2010 - 11:25 am

    @Jessica Walmart! Why do you give Kimchi a bad name! Buy it at those local korean stores!

  19. Roland -  October 23, 2010 - 10:20 am

    Koreans are the only people that I know of that truly “digs” a native dish.

    As a writer, I marvel at their “addiction” to kimchi. But then again, I shouldn’t as I’m also an almost fanatical fan. After watching tons of Korean dramas and films, just around three months ago I came across an article that expounded on its nutritional values, and so I had to give it another go—I never liked it when I was introduced to it by a friend more than two decades back, its pungent smell alone killing my enthusiasm at trying something exotic or novel.

    Life overflows with interesting tidbits to enhance or just satisfy my “joie de vivre”, but getting hooked on kimchi was as far removed from my psyche as driving on the left side of the road, as close to one third of the world’s countries do. In fact, it has become part of my staple diet. Think of a Filipino living in America and having a love affair with it.

    It’s an acquired taste though, but there’s something about biting into it that triggers my taste buds and memory to look forward to my next session with it—it’s just simply appetizing.

    So I don’t blame the citizens of South Korea, in my mind my second adopted country, for experiencing some kind of emotional panic for fear of not getting their fill of kimchi. One of my hopes now is to eat it inside a restaurant somewhere in Seoul, or anywhere in South Korea (the North too if allowed).

    That might just seal my devotion to it!

  20. sally -  October 23, 2010 - 9:36 am

    This is so borin

  21. Michael -  October 23, 2010 - 9:31 am

    Interestingly, the food contains large amounts of sugar and salt, rendering it very unhealthy to all eating. I would like to refute this suggestion, as I have tried, but after observing many people make it over the past few years in Korea, I have seen that these ingredients are necessary and always added, and very unhealthy.

  22. EdgeOfDark -  October 23, 2010 - 9:23 am

    Of the 3 things I loved and enjoyed while traveling Korea, Kimchi was number one!

    @Joon Yeon “Let’s note that the cabbage used in Kimchi is called ‘Baechu’ in Korea …”

    Yup! :)

  23. Clancy -  October 23, 2010 - 9:05 am

    Wow – I think maybe Ethan Kim needs to not be so sensitive. There was no cynicism – the author was just adding another point to the topic :/

  24. sheldon -  October 23, 2010 - 8:57 am

    @ jessica : i no right i love that stuff but i agree with you ————————— and to every1 else kimchi is good and all and im chinese but still the stuff is good so the prices doesnt matter you can wait until the country gets more shippings of cabbages or you can just go and buy them at the price their at it doesnt really matter. But if ur asian wait until the prices go down then buy it cause wat asian wastes their mone on a yogurt size package of kimchi for $100 when you can buy like a truck size package of kimchi for like uuuuummmmmm… $1 :P XP


  25. Jee Min Lee -  October 23, 2010 - 8:53 am

    I agree with Joon Yeon.
    We call the cabage for kimchi as “baechu.” I’ve never heard of Koreans calling baechu “napa” before. I also want to add to Ethan Kim’s comment. Kimchi is scientifically proven to be a healthy food. The healthy ingredients and the fermentation process help the dish to be good for everyone. I mean, even the Japanese are copying our kimchi to make Kimuchi. Kimchi’s healthy nutrient is not a “claim.” It is a fact.

  26. Ross A. Burr -  October 23, 2010 - 8:47 am

    I do not have all the proper termonalagies or ologies?? to represent other than I kind of like the dish,er, side dish.I myself enjoy a great variety of foods from different ethnic backgrounds. Sometimes I think there is no predjudice when it comes to food, thanks to the BIG GUY, upstairs whomever one believes may be. Thanx for letting me put my 2cents in.rossco123@q.com.

  27. EJ -  October 23, 2010 - 8:08 am

    I’m Korean and love kimchi very much.
    Despite of high price of cabbage, My mother have bought that and made kimchi then. and gave some to her friend.. I became so angry!! I wanted to eat kimchi as much as I can !!! :)

  28. Chuck -  October 23, 2010 - 7:36 am

    I had a very dear friend introduce me to kimchee, and I liked the food. My only regret is lack of knowledge preparing it. Thank you for the article.

  29. jessica -  October 23, 2010 - 6:54 am

    I need a spell check for comments

  30. jessica -  October 23, 2010 - 6:51 am

    I love that stuff, but it was a little on the expensive side to buy at walmart for a peanut bar jar size. If prices are down I may check to see how much.

  31. D.J. -  October 23, 2010 - 6:50 am

    The word Kimchi is originated from the ancient word ‘Chimchae’ which means dipped(salted) vegetable in Korea. Hitorically, The word ‘Chimchae’ can be found in the old record book (Hun Mong Ja hoe) belongs to the Korean Joseon Dynasty era that this word has not been found in elsewhere yet. Therefore the word ‘Kimchi’ has nothing to do with Japanese, but unique Korean traditional word.
    Hope to enjoy this salubrious dish!!

  32. Calvin Park -  October 23, 2010 - 6:16 am

    Just like to add that the website does more thorough research before they put any article.

  33. Calvin Park -  October 23, 2010 - 6:15 am

    I’ve never heard of Napa cabbage being used to make Kimchi. Whether it is the same as Baechu, the actual name of the cabbage used, or not, the usage of the term in an article about Kimchi, a Korean food, seems inappropriate. It’d be equivalent to describing Japanese Natto as being prepared with Korean beans. That’s silly.

  34. kingofleonlover -  October 23, 2010 - 6:09 am

    Woa, talk about a crisis. :(

  35. Cyprus Jones -  October 23, 2010 - 5:25 am

    Stop telling lies Joon Yeon.

  36. ryan -  October 23, 2010 - 4:54 am

    I am a south korean too. my grandmother is to worried about the baechu(cabbage) price going up

  37. ryan -  October 23, 2010 - 4:53 am


  38. Ethan Kim -  October 23, 2010 - 4:09 am

    Nappa cabbage IS what they use in Korea. Chinese cabbage and nappa cabbage are the same. Koreans have been eating kimchi only for hundreds, not thousands years. The effect of consuming Kimchi is not a claim. It has been scientifically proven. Your cynicism in the last paragraph is absolutely not appreciated or necessary.

  39. Lucy Shim -  October 23, 2010 - 3:14 am

    It’s true that Kimchi is very important to Korean and it somehow caused some problems, the price of it dropped a lot recently and many citizens are getting BaeChu at relatively cheap price..

  40. detective story -  October 23, 2010 - 3:13 am

    I also like whipping cream.

  41. detective story -  October 23, 2010 - 3:13 am

    Pickled or salted vegetable are my favorite.

  42. pearl.23 -  October 23, 2010 - 1:16 am

    @Joon Yeon:i agree with you,,all of my korean students here in the Philippines last summer camp loves Kimchi,,and i’ve tried eating it also,,lets just pray that no one will suffer food shortage^_^

  43. Joon Yeon -  October 23, 2010 - 12:47 am

    Let’s note that the cabbage used in Kimchi is called ‘Baechu’ in Korea, not Napa cabbage. It is more commonly referred to as the Chinese cabbage, not Napa cabbage.

    The word ‘Kimchi’ originates from the Korea word meaning ‘to preserve’.

    The price of ‘Baechu’ has now dropped back to just over a dollar as of yesterday. (Oct.22)


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