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2016 K-Food Fair in Bangkok, ThailandK-Food Discovers Its Potential in Promising Markets

It is not difficult these days to see Indonesians eating tteokbokki (stir-fried rice cake), bibimbap (rice mixed with vegetables and beef), and other Korean dishes. Thai consumers often purchase Korean strawberries and consider them a high-end fruit. Thanks to the popularity of Hallyu (Korean culture wave) in Indonesia and Thailand, the two countries are expected to become major importers of Korean agriproducts in the future, and many Korean food exporters are concentrating their efforts on advancing into the local markets.

To promote the Korean food culture and Korean agriproducts in Indonesia and Thailand, MAFRA (Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs) and aT (Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation) will host a K-Food Fair, a large trade fair for Korean agriproducts, in the capital cities, Jakarta and Bangkok, in October.


□ 2016 K-Food Fair in Bangkok, Thailand

First K-Food Fair in Thailand…Export Consultations and Korean Food Experience Events Held for Four Days from October 20 

Thailand is a renowned tourist destination, and Khaosan Road is a base camp for backpackers from around the world. The country is also known for its delicious food such as tom yam soup. With Hallyu having reached Thailand, many local people became interested in Korean cuisine and agriproducts. It is common to see information on Korean ramen, beer, and tteokbokki on social networks popular with young Thai people. A crew from a Thai broadcasting company has visited Korea to film famous Korean restaurants for a special program about Hansik (Korean cuisine).

To boost the consumption of Korean food in Thailand, MAFRA and aT are going to host a large-scale, four-day event for Korean food, K-Food Fair, in Bangkok from October 20 to 23.

Export Consultations from October 20 to 21 to Attract 40 Local Buyers and 25 Korean Food Exporters

Focus on Promotion of Korean Health Foods such as Ginseng and Samgyetang

The 2016 K-Food Fair in Bangkok will be first held under the slogan “Stay Healthy with Tasty K-Food." It will focus on promoting the merits of Korean agriproducts, such as their excellent taste and high nutritious value, to the Thai people.     

Export consultations (B2B) will take place at Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel on October 20 and 21. About 40 local buyers, mostly large-scale distributors, convenience stores, and home shopping channels, are expected to participate along with 25 Korean food exporters. Participating Korean companies are going to promote healthy functional foods―processed ginseng, lactobacillus food, samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup), herbal beverages, and healthy snacks—to highlight the healthy benefits of Korean agriproducts. Korean fresh food (such as apples, pears, and mushrooms) and traditional food (liquor and sauces) will also be on display.

Other B2B events of the fair include a presentation of Korean agriproducts for export and a seminar discussing popular Korean agriproducts in Thailand and strategies for expansion in the local market.

A K-Food Promotion Event for Local Consumers on October 22 to 23
Letting the Thai Enjoy and Share Their Korean Food Experiences

Korean food experience events for local consumers (B2C) will take place on October 22–23 at Central World Plaza. A K-Food Cooking Show will offer its participants a chance to cook Korean dishes and collect K-Food Recipe Cards with cooking instructions for gimbap (Korean seaweed roll), kimchi-jeon (kimchi pancake), and other simple dishes.

A variety of other events are prepared to attract more interest from local consumers. These include a K-Food Lucky Draw (where visitors randomly pick Korean agriproducts from a bag), “What K-Food Is Good for Me?” event (where participants receive recommendations about Korean agriproducts matching their physical conditions), and a Watermelon Eating Race.  

□ What K-Foods Are Popular in Thailand?

Strawberry: Every year since 2006, Thai consumers can purchase Korean strawberries in large stores and high-end supermarkets between February and May (the harvest season of Korean strawberries). Due to its sweetness, pretty shape, and high quality, the Korean strawberry is considered a premium fruit in the local market. It is especially popular as a gift for Valentine's Day.

Instant Noodles: Korean instant noodles have earned many fans among the younger generation of Thai interested in Hallyu. Most of major brands―Nongshim and others―can be found on the shelves of local large distributors and convenience stores. The strongest points of Korean instant noodles are the spiciness and chewiness. These days, many local consumers are looking for Korean products with unique flavors such as instant noodles with jjajang (black bean sauce), buldak-bokkeum (spicy chicken), and bibim (sweet and sour sauce).
 

Sauces for Korean Dishes: Thanks to the popularity of Hallyu, some local people have started cooking Korean dishes—bibimbap, bulgogi (sliced and seasoned beef barbeque), and so on—at home. This has led to the export of Korean sauces to the country. Now, one can easily find sauces and seasonings for tteokbokki and bulgogi on the shelves of large supermarkets in Thailand. Tube-type gochujang (red pepper paste) and small-sized kimchi seasoning are receiving a very positive response in the local market. 

□ K-Food Actively Promoted in Thailand
Since the establishment of an aT office in Bangkok in 2011, MAFRA and aT have been steadily promoting Korean agriproducts and Korean food culture to Thai consumers and buyers. Below is a list of recent activities designed to promote promising Korean agriproducts in the country.

Health Beverages Made with Iced Persimmon Catch the Eyes of the Thai

 
As a result of joint efforts of a Korean coffee franchise active in Thailand and the Bangkok aT office, three types of health beverages―Hongsi Smoothie, Hongsi Juice, and Hongsi-ccino―made with Korean iced persimmon were released in August. The new beverages quickly captivated the taste buds of local consumers who like sweet food. Ripe persimmon (hongsi in Korean) is very sweet and is good for overcoming fatigue and losing weight.

K-Food Promotion with Hallyu Star Song Joong-ki

The Bangkok aT office hosted an "Enjoy K-Food" event with Hallyu star Song Joong-ki in May. Mr. Song gained many fans in Thailand after a TV drama he starred in, "Descendants of the Sun," was broadcast in the country. The aT office set up a booth at an event hall where Mr. Song had a meeting with his fans. The booth promoted a variety of Korean agriproducts including spicy instant noodles and nutritious seaweed snacks. The aT office has also made a lot of efforts to raise awareness of the excellent taste and health benefits of Korean food among local consumers through Facebook.

Introducing Recipes for Top 10 Korean Dishes in Thailand

The Bangkok aT office in cooperation with Suan Dusit University of Thailand publicized recipes for ten Korean dishes in November of 2015. The announcement attracted a lot of attention from the Thai interested in Korean cuisine. The recipes were selected based on the preferences of the Thai people for spicy and sweet tastes and included tteokbokki, bibimbap, and jeyuk-bokkeum (stir-fried spicy pork) and other easy-to-cook dishes. A famous Korean chef demonstrated how to cook those dishes at the presentation of the recipes.

Park Sung Eun  parkse@agrinet.co.kr

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