Korean Food Promotion Institute helps farmers as onion prices plummet

By Im Eun-byel
  • Published : Jul 25, 2019 - 15:43
  • Updated : Jul 25, 2019 - 15:43

Amid an unprecedented onion crisis, the Korean Food Promotion Institute held an event Tuesday to promote sales of the vegetable.

A record harvest of onions, despite a decrease in farmland that grows the vegetable, has resulted in a heavy drop in prices.

To help farmers, restaurateur Paik Jong-won shared recipes using onions on his YouTube channel. Individuals, companies and local governments are also supporting farmers by purchasing large amounts of onions.

Joining the movement, the Korean Food Promotion Institute hosted an event featuring onions at the Korean Cuisine Cultural Center in central Seoul on Tuesday. 

Onion farmer (Korean Food Promotion Institute)

“Though monks are not supposed to eat onions, I believe, at a time like this, we should consume onions ourselves to help the farmers. I asked other monks about this and surprisingly many agreed with me,” said Ven. Sunjae, head of the Korean Food Promotion Institute. The Buddhist monk is well known for her Buddhist temple dishes.

Celebrity chef Oh Se-deuk participated in the event, showcasing how to make onion soup with pork ribs and bread garnished with fried onions.

“Actually, I am registered as a farmer, as I once tried farming on Jeju Island in 2011. From that experience, I know that when there is a crisis like this, we have to help each other,” Oh said. 

Chef Oh Se-deuk showcases onion-inspired dishes at the Korean Cuisine Cultural Center in central Seoul on Tuesday. (Korean Food Promotion Institute)

Apart from the event, the institution also held cooking classes on how to make pickled onions and onion kimchi at home. Finger food made with onions were on sale at the center, too.

On Tuesday, an onion farmer from Gochang, North Jeolla Province, visited the center with produce, allowing visitors to purchase the vegetable at a relatively low price. According to the institution, around 1 ton of onions were sold on the day.

By Im Eun-byel (