The Korea Herald


Frozen gimbap sold at Trader Joe's makes triumphant debut in home market

By No Kyung-min

Published : Dec. 1, 2023 - 14:29

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Baba Gimbap’s “yubu u-eong gimbap Baba Gimbap’s “yubu u-eong gimbap" (Courtesy of E-mart 24)

A Korean frozen gimbap product, which created a huge buzz in the US organic market, is now making its domestic debut.

According to E-mart 24, E-mart's convenience store chain, on Friday, it has stocked Baba Gimbap’s frozen gimbap product for a two-week special sale.

Created by Korean food firm Allgot, the supplier behind the Trader Joe’s hit rice rolls, the gimbap is rapid frozen at minus 50 degree Celsius so that it retains the shape and texture of a freshly wrapped roll during microwaving, E-mart officials explained.

Priced at 1980 won ($1.5), the frozen gimbap requires two to three minutes of cooking time in a microwave.

Allgot's frozen gimbap has been a sell-out sensation in the US market since its introduction via Trader Joe's in August. This Korean seaweed rice rolls has captivated the taste buds of American consumers, especially as a vegan option without meat fillings.

The product's popularity has been further fueled by social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube, even causing a nationwide sell-out and prompting certain market branches to implement a one-per-customer buying limit.

In a viral TikTok video created by Tiktok creator ahnestkitchen, Ahn introduces Trader Joe’s gimbap to her Korean mom who is amazed at the idea of freezing and microwaving gimbap. In a surprising turn, they both discovered that it's not too bad and is worth the price ($3.99).

The video has amassed 13.5 million views along with 1.4 million likes and nearly 5,000 comments, as of December this year. One comment reads, “Mom says it’s good, I’m headed to Trader Joe’s tomorrow! (smiling face emoji),” expressing excitement about trying out the much-anticipated frozen food.

E-Mart officials expressed optimism about the frozen gimbap's potential popularity in the domestic market as well, highlighting that its appeal to consumers lies in its easy cooking method and affordable price, especially during a period of high inflation.

Frozen gimbap sold at Trader Joe's in the US (Courtesy of Trader Joe's)af Frozen gimbap sold at Trader Joe's in the US (Courtesy of Trader Joe's)af