Song Joong Ki apologises for 'Chinese bibimbap' product placement in Vincenzo

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - MAY 28 : Song Joong-Ki attends tvN drama
Song Joong-Ki at tvN drama "Arthdal Chronicles" premiere in May, 2019 in Seoul.(Photo by The Chosunilbo JNS/Imazins via Getty Images)

If you're still reeling from the disturbing ending in Vincenzo's finale, the drama hasn't quite ended just yet.

Song Joong Ki, who plays a ruthless Mafia consigliere in Vincenzo (read our review here), has personally apologised for the controversy over the Chinese food product placement in the K-drama series.

To mark the end of the tvN series, which saw Song's return to K-drama after his divorce and hiatus, the 35-year-old actor apologised in an interview over an episode of the show that featured an instant bibimbap product made by Chinese company Zi Hai Guo, which was slammed by South Korean viewers.

Product placements, called PPL in South Korea, are a common practice in Korean TV dramas, sometimes featuring so prominently and in such profusion as to cause comical effect.

Korean entertainment news site ZapZee reported that Song said: “I was in the middle of shooting when the controversy broke out. So I decided to stay silent on the matter to focus on my job... Also, I wasn’t in the position to comment. But I did think that I should mention this if I’m asked the question.”

Song Joong Ki in Vincenzo. (Photo: Netflix)
Song Joong Ki in Vincenzo. (Photo: Netflix)

He continued, “It’s a fact that a controversy about the series arose, and there were people who were disappointed by it. So as a leading actor, it’s only fair that I say sorry. Internally, we all tried to faithfully stick to the story. I only thought about putting my heart into my role to win the favour of the viewers.”

Song's comments were in direct response to an interview question about the PPL controversy, and he went on to explain the situation and what the cast of Vincenzo did to move on from it.

The Chinese bibimbap, seen in episode 8 of the series, was made by Zi Hai Guo, a famous Chinese instant food brand.

The vehement outrage from netizens came in the wake of a cultural feud between South Korea and China over who invented kimchi, which is a staple of Korean food. China's state-owned newspaper Global Times had claimed that the Korean side dish was a variation of a Chinese pickled vegetable dish called "paocai".

Despite its political woes, Vincenzo has achieved one of the highest viewerships in K-drama history, becoming one of tvN's highest rated dramas to boot and smashing records after each episode was released.

Vincenzo released its finale episode on 2 May and is available on Netflix.

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