A controversy between China and Korea over the origins of Kimchi has forced an academic activist to publish an ad in the New York Times outlining once and for all where the dish comes from.
Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made up of fermented vegetables, usually cabbage, and a variety of spices and seasonings.
According to The Korea Times, the debate began over the dish back in November 2020 when a Chinese state-run tabloid claimed China led the development of an international standard for making Kimchi.
Tensions were heightened yet again when Chinese ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Jun shared a picture of himself holding kimchi to Twitter captioned with the hashtag #chinesefood.
Kimchi is South Korea's national dish, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) labelling it as an "essential part" of Korean meals that "reaffirms Korean Identity."
Academic Activist Seo Kyoung-duk decided the only way to end the conflict was through a well-designed advertisement in the New York Times, reports The Korean Times.
"Instead of trying to counter every claim made by China over kimchi, we decided the more polished response would be to let the world know of accurate facts about the dish," Kyoung-duk told The Korea Times.
Kyung-duk's ad cites UNESCO's listing of Kimchi and its origins before adding it was made to be shared with the world.
"The Kimchi making and sharing culture was listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013. Historically, this iconic food of Korea and its culture date back thousands of years," it reads.
"Kimchi is Korean, but it belongs to everyone"
Kyung-duk wanted to end the conflict without making Korea seem angry, or getting wound up in a debate.
"That's why we didn't even mention China in the ad. We wanted this to serve as a chance for Korea to develop its own effective PR strategy rather than simply being swept up in anger."
Kimchi has surged in popularity in countries like the US, Europe and New Zealand with influential people such as Michelle Obama sharing their recipes.
The fermented dish can be found in many supermarkets and restaurants across New Zealand.