Asia Minute: Korea’s Holiday Egg Shortage

Dec 27, 2016

Credit 16:9clue / Flickr

The run-up to New Year’s includes a lot of food preparation for many households. And while ‘ahi is a local favorite in the islands, baked goods are increasingly popular in South Korea.  This year, that’s presenting some special challenges. HPR’s Bill Dorman explains in today’s Asia Minute.

Bakers in South Korea are facing a critical shortage of eggs this holiday season.

Avian flu has led to the killing of millions of chickens along with ducks and other poultry.

The Ministry of Agriculture says 26 million birds have been destroyed in a little more than a month, and the Ministry says more than 78 percent of those birds were egg-laying hens.

So far, there are no reports of human infection of bird flu in South Korea.  But the price of eggs has shot to a three-year high, spiking by some 25 percent in a little more than a month.

Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reports the bakery franchise Paris Baguette has stopped the production of nearly 20 items using eggs ranging from roll cakes to muffins.

And while traditional Korean New Year’s feasts are more likely to feature kalbi short ribs and the glass noodles of japchae, baked goods have become increasingly popular at this time of year especially in big cities.

Even some traditional Korean food is affected, the seaweed rice rolls known as kimbap feature eggs as a key ingredient.

Reuters reports South Korea’s agriculture ministry is exploring options to deal with the shortage including importing egg-laying chickens and eggs from the United States, New Zealand, and Spain.