The Korean Customs Service on July 26 said exports of ramyeon (instant noodles) reached USD 319.68 million in the first half of the year, up 5.8% from the same period last year. Pictured is the ramyeon section of a Seoul grocery store in April.

Exports of ramyeon (instant noodles) hit an all-time high in the first half of the year, breaking the previous record set last year thanks to the surging global popularity of the noodles as an emergency food after the coronavirus pandemic forced many people to stay at home. 

According to export data released on July 26 by the Korea Customs Service, overseas shipments of ramyeon between January and last month reached USD 319.68 million, up 5.8% from the previous mark set over the same period last year of USD 302.08 million.

Imports of instant noodles came to USD 4.69 million in the year's first half, making ramyeon exports 68.2 times higher in value than that of imports. 

China was by far the largest export market with USD 68.13 million, followed by the U.S. with USD 37.3 million, Japan USD 33.02 million, Taiwan USD 16.21 million, the Philippines USD 12.05 million and Malaysia USD 11.67 million. 

Yet the first-half growth rate was considerably lower than the 37.4% surge in the first half of last year, mainly due to the combination of last year's rate being so high and logistical difficulties caused by a recent shortage of shipping containers.