In the world of viral trends, TikTok has become a powerhouse for catapulting unexpected things to fame. This time, it’s Kimbap, the beloved Korean sushi rolls, that have taken the center stage thanks to the platform’s influence.
Meet Sarah Ahn, a 27-year-old food blogger residing in Orange County, California. She recently surprised her mother with a unique treat – frozen Kimbap she brought all the way from Korea. To her mother’s surprise, Sarah mentioned that you can heat these frozen rolls in the microwave for a quick and tasty snack. After a bite-sized Kimbap made its way through the microwave, the verdict was in – “Not bad at all,” they both agreed.
What Sarah didn’t expect was the tremendous response her TikTok video received. She posted the video on September 16th, and by October 7th, it had racked up an astounding 11.2 million views. It wasn’t long before Kimbap became a sensation across the United States, all thanks to TikTok.
NBC even caught wind of this phenomenon, running a story titled ‘Trader Joe’s Kimbap Goes Viral Nationwide Thanks to TikTok.’ The article introduced the recent Kimbap trend that’s sweeping the nation.
The star of this show is Trader Joe’s, a grocery store chain with a presence in 42 states and over 560 stores. Last month, they introduced frozen Kimbap, and to everyone’s amazement, it sold out within just two weeks. The good news is that they plan to restock this delightful Korean snack in November.
Trader Joe’s Kimbap is hailed for its vegetable-centric approach. It features genuine tofu, a medley of stir-fried vegetables, pickles, and rice, all neatly rolled into bite-sized portions that are perfect for a quick, satisfying snack.
The story of frozen Kimbap’s nationwide success in the United States is undoubtedly intertwined with TikTok. TikTok users’ curiosity led to a flurry of videos showcasing people trying frozen Kimbap, generating immense buzz and ultimately emptying store shelves.
Sarah Ahn, the food blogger behind the viral TikTok video, believes that the rising popularity of Kimbap in the U.S. reflects a broader trend of acceptance and appreciation for Korean culture. It’s not just about the food; it’s a growing fascination with Korean music, cuisine, and culture as a whole.
This Kimbap craze hasn’t gone unnoticed by social media users. Some have expressed their disappointment at not being able to find the product, with a touch of humor, saying they’ve tried every day but to no avail. As a result, many are turning to Korean markets like H Mart in their quest to satisfy their Kimbap cravings.
Robin Lee, CEO of Asian food distribution company Lee Brothers, is also taking note of this trend. He’s considering various ways to import frozen Kimbap to meet the surging demand, seeing the success of Trader Joe’s Kimbap as a positive development for everyone.
In the ever-evolving world of viral trends, it seems that TikTok has once again proved its power, this time by bringing Kimbap into the American mainstream, one bite-sized roll at a time.