Dubai: The number of South Korean expatriates in Dubai has grown rapidly over the last five years and is continually increasing, the Korean Consul-General said.
“Now, there are more than 5,000 Koreans living in Dubai only and about 10,000 in the whole UAE working in around 170 major Korean companies here,” Seong-doo Ahn, Consul-General of the Republic of Korea, told Gulf News on the sidelines of the first Korean Food Festival at The Address Hotel in Dubai Marina on Monday.
“Just about five years ago, there were less than 1,000 Koreans living in Dubai. But now it has increased four times.”
Seong-doo said the increase in the entry of South Koreans in the UAE was triggered by the signing of the nuclear power plant deal between the two governments.
“This happened after my government successfully secured the deal to construct the nuclear power plant in the UAE in 2008. Since then, our relations have grown so fast.”
Seong-doo said 80 per cent of Koreans living in the UAE work in various sectors such as automobile, electronics, construction, food and beverage, and even in the medical sector.
Seong-doo projected a further influx of Koreans to Dubai in the run up to the World Expo in 2020.
“The UAE was very supportive to us when the World Expo was held in Yeosu, Korea in 2012. We are very thankful for the gestures of the UAE government then. And with that, we are also willing to support the UAE for the coming World Expo in 2020.”
Seong-doo said that as more and more Koreans come here, it is but fitting to bring their food and culture here as well. This is why, he said, they held the food festival in Dubai as a way of introducing their food to the UAE.
“Korean food is not as popular as Chinese or Japanese food but it is gaining popularity here,” Consul Sang-jin Kim, in-charge of cultural affairs, said.
During the festival, eight local South Korean restaurants offered traditional Korean food such as popular kimchi, bulgogi, bibimbap and others. They also featured a cooking class which taught seven different Korean dishes.
A reception was also held in the evening to celebrate the National Foundation Day of Korea, which is celebrated on October 3.