Consumption of tasty pork belly bulge on its special day

Posted on : 2015-03-03 17:11 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
The third day of the year’s third month is “Samgyeopsal Day”, with more people in South Korea enjoying the grilled delicacy
 three-layered pork belly
three-layered pork belly

A single pig produces just around 10 kilograms of belly, the chief ingredient in the popular dish known as samgyeopsal, three-layered pork belly. Many Koreans are wild about the characteristic blend of flavors from lean meat and fat. As evidence of this love, Mar. 3 has been celebrated by many every year as “Samgyeopsal Day.” March 3, the third day of the third month, was designated Samgyeopsal Day due to the meat’s three layered composure.

As if the grilled dish weren’t already popular enough, a special day was set aside just for it. But do people really eat more samgyeopsal on Samgyeopsal Day?

To make a long story short, samgyeopsal sees a spike of three to four times ordinary sales. Data from the E-Mart chain showed average daily sales of 240 million won (US$217,800) between Mar. 4 and 31, 2013. For the three days between Mar. 1 and 3 (Samgyeopsal Day), the figure was 3.16 times higher at 760 million won (US$689,800). In 2014, the difference was 2.72 times, with 600 million won (US$544,600) in sales on Mar 1--3 compared to 220 million won (US$199,700) for the rest of the month. This year, average daily sales in February were 250 million won (US$226,900); on Mar. 1 alone, they amounted to some 700 million won (US$635,300).

Figures from the Lotte Mart supermarket told a similar story. Sales during the Samgyeopsal Day season (Mar. 1-3) were up by 3.2 times over the same three days in February for 2012, 3.6 times in 2013, 4.4 times in 2014.

“We can’t disclose our exact sales, but the pork belly demand is always huge every year for Samgyeopsal Day,” a Lotte Mart source said.

Contributing to the sales spike are major promotional events by retailers. The huge sales mean rising demand, with even wholesale prices spiking since mid- to late February.

Daily pork carcass price numbers from the Korea Pork Producers Association showed wholesale rates in the 4,200-4,440 won (US$3.81-3.99) per kilogram range for late January, but 4,600-4,900 won (US$4.17-4.45) for the post-holiday period from Feb. 23 to 25. In 2014, prices remained just below 4,000 won (US$3.63) through Feb. 20 before jumping to 5,006 won (US$4.54) on Mar. 3.


By Kim Jeong-pil and Kim Hyo-jin, staff reporters


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