I will be traveling internationally from South Korea to return home (South America) with a connection in France (Korean Air -> Air France). I intend to bring some souvenirs, one of which is a pot of Korean kimchi, which I was intending to bring on together with the rest of my carry-on luggage, but I'm not sure if that is allowed.

I did some research on bringing food preserves on board but unfortunately most of my findings deals with frozen or solid food, none of which I believe approaches the "preserved" nature of store-bought kimchi that comes in airtight plastic jars.

Am I allowed to bring food preserves with oil / vinegar like kimchi on board with the rest of my carry-on luggage on a flight to Europe? Or should I stow it in my checked luggage?

  • 2
    The decision about what counts as a "liquid or gel", or what counts as too large of a quantity of it, is often effectively at the discretion of the security checkpoint staff. You might get away with it, but if you absolutely want to be able to bring it home, I would recommend putting it in your checked baggage. Feb 6, 2018 at 14:25
  • Is it over 100ml?
    – Itai
    Feb 6, 2018 at 15:11
  • Kimchi is pretty tamed compared to what we (French) see as normal food. Roquefort, andouillette etc.... My guess is you will mostly have problem going from France to south America as trans-continental flight as those where bio-hazard is a concern
    – Madlozoz
    Feb 6, 2018 at 19:49

2 Answers 2


Any liquid or container with liquid must be of less than 100ml to be allowed on carry on. If it is larger, you must place it in checked luggage. It doesn't matter if part of the container is partially empty or holds other things than liquids (as bringing a 150ml jar of pickles than contains less than 100ml of vinegar). This is from a security standpoint.

You must also be aware of the rules for food safety and customs which different countries apply when food products enters the country. Korea should not be a problem, most countries do not control foods that are taken out. As a hint, if you see similar products at the airport, it will be allowed to take out. As you connect in France International-to-International, assuming you do not leave the airport, customs there should not be involved.

The unspecified South American country of your arrival though will have some rules and you should see the official food import regulations. In my experience, South American countries are less restrictive on food products than the US or Canada, except for special zones like the Galapagos, which have highly specific regulations (for example, limes are OK but not lemon, yogurt is OK but not milk).

  • If the container is completely empty it is allowed to bring it on board. Feb 6, 2018 at 16:23
  • 1
    Otherwise +1, but a container with any liquid is treated the same as a container full of liquid. I've had a can of fish confiscated because it was 120ml, even though it completely obviously had under 100ml of liquid inside. Feb 6, 2018 at 20:20
  • @jpatokal - Clearly was missing a not given my example right after. Typo corrected.
    – Itai
    Feb 6, 2018 at 20:22
  • Thanks, I had forgotten about the 3-oz rule about liquids in general. Also, I don't think bringing it into Brazil will be any problem since it's processed, fermented food instead of raw fruits or seeds, but I guess it's worthy checking just in case.
    – walrus0001
    Feb 7, 2018 at 2:44
  • And since you brought up Canada, I can state confidently that you can declare any food you bring into Canada (and you should), without getting into trouble. If the food is not allowed into the country, it will be seized but you will not be in any trouble, as long as you declared it. Feb 7, 2018 at 17:23

You cannot. My husband got into trouble with his 1kg of kimchi last year. Just put it in check-in luggage.

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