SEOUL: South Korea’s exports of instant noodles reached an all-time high in 2022, boosted by the global popularity of Korean food and culture, data showed Thursday.

The country exported US$862 million worth of noodles, including instant noodles, or “ramyeon” in Korean, and udon noodles, last year, up 12 per cent from a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.

It marked the highest ever global sales for South Korean noodles, surpassing the previous record set in 2021.

By volume, outbound shipment of noodles grew 10.3 per cent on-year to 260,000 tons in 2022, also a record figure. South Korea was the world’s second-largest exporter of noodles last year following China that sold 460,000 tons of the products, the data showed.

The brisk shipment was attributed to the global popularity of Korean food, along with the popularity of Korean movies, dramas and music that boosted overseas demand.

The Covid-19 pandemic also brought up the demand for ready-to-eat food products around the world. Among South Korean noodle exports, ramyeon was the No. 1 export item with US$765 million in sales last year, up 13.5 per cent from a year earlier.

By nation, China was the largest overseas market for South Korean noodles, with exports reaching US$191 million, followed by the United States with US$120 million and Japan with US$68 million.

The South Korean noodle products were sold at 143 nations, or the largest ever figure, last year, the data showed. -Bernama