Chinese YouTuber makes dish resembling kimchi, prompting S. Korean outcry

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Jan. 11 (UPI) — A Chinese vlogger with 14 million subscribers on YouTube used the hashtag #Chinesefood on a video that depicts her making a cabbage dish that drew comparisons to Korean kimchi, a spicy dish that is a staple in South Korea.

The video, uploaded Saturday, shows the Chinese internet celebrity Li Ziqi, a native of Mianyang, Sichuan, making the Chinese dish pao cai.

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China and South Korea recently clashed over a Chinese state media editorial that claimed an International Organization for Standardization certification for the Chinese dish was also recognition for kimchi as Chinese.

Pao cai, which is commonly found in Sichuan, is prepared differently, often in smaller portions. In South Korea, kimchi-making is a daylong project involving several cooks pickling cabbage that is stored underground during the winter.

In the video, Li prepares the dish by herself and called the dish a “Chinese food.”

Li Ziqi’s video also showed her cooking a soup that resembled Korean kimchi stew, or “jjigae.” It is unclear whether similar uses of pickled cabbage are common in Sichuan cuisine.

According to South Korean television network SBS, the video has elicited compliments from Li’s followers. One Chinese-language comment stated her video was “the most beautiful among footage of kimchi.”

In South Korea, netizens accused the YouTuber of misappropriating Korean culture and claiming Korean traditions as Chinese, according to SBS.

Seoul has previously criticized Chinese media for what it described as false claims about Korean kimchi.

“It is inappropriate to report [the pao cai certification] without differentiating kimchi from pao cai of China’s Sichuan [province],” South Korea’s agriculture ministry said last year.

In December, the top U.S. diplomat to South Korea took part in a live-streamed cooking show in Seoul, making kimchi with a local celebrity chef.

U.S. Ambassador to Seoul Harry Harris at the time used the hashtag #originalKimchifromKorea to promote the dish.

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