Shoppers snap up hot, spicy foods to cool off

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Shoppers snap up hot, spicy foods to cool off

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Koreans beat the heat with “hot” items during the past two weeks as the country has been experiencing an unprecedented heat wave with temperatures rising as high as 36 degrees Celsius (96.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in Seoul.

Warm and spicy foods showed a higher year-on-year sales growth rate than that of cooler food items, according to sales from Aug. 8 to 21 at Korean online shopping platform Auction.

Sales of oxtail and beef bone, ingredients used in Korea to make hot soup, increased by 103 percent compared to the same period last year. Koreans say nutritious warm foods are rejuvenating during particularly hot times.

Packaged items of spicy foods such as stir-fried octopus showed a year-on-year growth rate of 152 percent. Spicy food in Korea is seen bringing back appetites lost during a sweltering summer.

Sales of fresh ginseng, red ginseng extract, red ginseng candies and related items rose an average of 71 percent during the same period last year. Fresh ginseng that could be brewed into tea or ground with milk showed the steepest rise -133 percent.

Ginseng, which facilitates blood circulation, is an ingredient in Korea that is believed to recover one’s energy by increasing body temperature.

Cold noodles, including packaged soba and naengmyun, or Korean cold noodles, sold only 44 percent more compared to the same period last year. Sales of ice desserts, including ice cream and shaved ice topped with red bean paste, increased 142 percent year-on-year.

Home products that warm up the body temperature also sold more than expected.

Sales of foot baths rose by 59 percent while steamed patches used to enhance blood circulation rose 611 percent year-on-year.

“The sales trend in August, which had its peak with summer heat, showed a preference towards ‘hot’ items which would help consumers endure the heat and rejuvenate with healthy food,” said an Auction spokesperson.

“With the heat wave expected to go on for a few more weeks, these items’ popularity will go on for a while longer.”


BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]







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