Marts spur kimchi-making with big discounts

Workers at the Garak wholesale market were busy Friday unloading cabbage and white radish, mainly used to make “kimchi,” the staple Korean dish of pickled cabbage. Households usually make kimchi in bulk at this time of year.

The good news for consumers is that marts are offering big discounts on the ingredients for kimchi, as more Koreans use ready-made kimchi or choose Western-style salads.

Lotte Mart has various vegetables on sale, noting that cabbage, white radish and mustard leaves, traditionally used for kimchi, posted big falls in sales over the past two years.

It is offering up to 30 percent discount on “exotic” vegetables for kimchi, such as red beet, harder “cheonsu” radish and Ganghwa radish that has white and reddish hues.

The National Agricultural Cooperatives Federation-run Hanaro Mart is selling cabbages – raw and pickled – at discounts of 20 percent to 50 percent through Dec. 13.

Meanwhile, e-Mart estimated it will cost about 203,000 won per household of four to make kimchi this year, a price hike of about 2.4 percent.