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Food prices soaring at restaurants and grocery stores in S. Korea Updated: 2022-05-28 12:12:34 KST

With social distancing measures lifted, we might've expected a flood of business at restaurants.
But that's not quite happened because of skyrocketing prices.

"When dining out, I feel like the same money doesn't go as far. I think prices are up about 10 percent."

"I came out to a local restaurant and ordered Samgyeopsal to see how pricey it is."

Can I have 4 servings of Samgyeopsal?

Samgyeopsal is pork belly, a cut widely thought of in Korea as affordable.
But people are finding that's less true now.

Thank you. How much is it?

It's 68,000 won.

68,000 won? That's more than 50 U.S. dollars, and just a year ago, it was much cheaper.
According to Statistics Korea, the price of Samgyeopsal in a restaurant was up almost 8 percent in April compared to a year earlier.
Consumers are feeling it, and it's rough on restaurant owners too.

"Price of everything has gone up, whether imported or domestic. I'm having a hard time running this restaurant."

It's not only Samgyeopsal but the cost of dining out in general, which Statistics Korea says was up 6.6 percent last month from a year earlier.
You could save money eating at home, but not as much as before.

"On a trip to the grocery store to make Samgyeopsal [for a family of four], I used to spend 100-thousand won, but these days it costs me about 130-thousand."

I went to the store to see for myself, and picked up the ingredients I'd need to make Samgyeopsal for four people.
And sure enough, the same items would have cost much less back in March.

"It’s not only food prices that are squeezing households; consumers are also paying more at the pumps. In April, the prices of petroleum products soared by more than 34 percent on-year."

And it's not going to be as "transitory" as some have expected.
Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho said Friday the country's inflation is likely to rise above 5 percent and stay there for a while.
To stabilize runaway prices, the government will announce new measures next week.
One expert says, the key is to increase supply.

"I think the government should concentrate on trying to raise the supply of foodstuffs where they can. So, the government should perhaps give subsidies to farmers for foodstuffs that they can raise quickly."

Eum Ji-young, Arirang News.
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