SEOUL, July 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports of kimchi rose sharply in the first half of the year thanks to its growing popularity, data showed Wednesday.
Overseas shipments of kimchi came to 20,259 tons in the January-June period, accounting for 68.3 percent of full-year exports in 2019, according to the data from the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp.
Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish normally made of fermented cabbage, salt and hot peppers, and is eaten with almost all meals.
South Korea's outbound shipments of kimchi have been on a steady rise with the volume rising from 23,490 tons in 2016 to 24,311 tons in 2017 and 28,197 tons in 2018.
In the first half, major export destinations included Japan, the United States, Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Japan was the biggest buyer of South Korean kimchi products, importing 10,349 tons, or nearly 65 percent of last year's total.
The U.S. came next with 3,024 tons, followed by Australia with 1,112 tons, Hong Kong with 1,022 tons and Taiwan with 887 tons.
Foodmaker Daesang Corp., known for No. 1 brand Jonggajip, was the top exporter with US$30 million in the first half, which took up 41 percent of South Korea's total kimchi exports. The company exported $43 million worth of kimchi for all of 2019.