Chimaek: Korea’s New Food Addiction
Neither fried chicken nor beer originated in Korea. No one thought of their combination; however, it turned out that they certainly do go together.Recently, this new way of enjoying fried chicken with beer has caused the country bursting with places to eat chicken. As of 2013, South Korea had about 20000 fried chicken restaurants. According to the Statics Korea, now the market for fried chicken is worth about three billion dollars. It’s becoming a popular food trend, that there’s even a festival for chicken & beer in Daegu, a Metropolitan city in South Korea.
Just like any celebrity couples, Koreans even named the combination as ‘Chimaek’, by co-joining ‘chicken’ and ‘Maekju’ (Maekju, Korean for beer). Chimaek has started a while ago, but the term itself began to spread since 2010, the year of the World cup. People enjoyed the food and beverage while they cheered for the Korean Soccer team. Chicken eateries were full of customers who visited to enjoy the soccer game and their chimaek. Its popularity does not seem to go away but instead, its significance has risen to a national dish.
“Chimaek is like a sigh of relief. Chimaek after work lets me know I’ve survived another day.” – Kim Min-jeong
“It’s part of our national culture. Chimaek is both an industry and a part of our dining culture.” -Park Vito
As a result of this unexpected hotness, millions of restaurants responded by coming up with different styles of chicken. To name a few, there’s ‘tongdak’, the whole roasted chicken, there’s sutbul chicken, which is cooked on charcoal fire, there’s boneless sunsal, there’s ‘Yangnyeom chicken’ with sweet and spicy sauce, and there’s also ‘Padak’, chicken with green onions. There are many more choices out there and more are to come.