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Home » News » Korean Honey Butter Chip Hysteria Has Created a Snack Black Market

Korean Honey Butter Chip Hysteria Has Created a Snack Black Market


Via Munchies Vice:

Whether it be the mass explosion of the selfie stick (which has led to governmental regulations and even penalties for those caught owning or selling unregistered sticks) or the strange Spam gift sets that pervade the nation during the holidays, South Korea’s collectivist instinct can be a powerful phenomena when combined with the nation’s enthusiastic consumerism. The proclivity of the nation to adopt large-scale trends is quite unparalleled, so when a new convenience store snack recently became noteworthy for the mania it stirred around Seoul, with abundant rumors about the impossibility of procuring a bag of said chips, my interest was piqued.

In August of 2014, Haetae Confectionary & Foods Co., along with Japanese snack food enterprise Calbee Inc., introduced the hottest junk food to hit the Korean peninsula this millennium: Honey Butter Chips.

Within just a few months, the simultaneously sweet, salty, and buttery chips catapulted into a craze at a rate that trumped the instant fads of K-pop acts and Korean melodramas. K-pop stars such as Sooyoung of Girl’s Generation, Siwon of Super Junior, and T-ara’s Hyomin began posing in selfies with gilded Honey Butter bags propped besides their cheeks and posting the snapshots online, with self-loathing captions. “Stop tempting me so much!” wrote actress So Yoo-Jin, posting a picture of a bag on her Instagram. A popular news broadcaster for KBS even proclaimed that she was “laughing and crying over one bag of chips” and uploaded a picture of herself decadently sitting in a fur coat in an SUV holding up the famously elusive golden yellow bag.

Soon, the Honey Butter Chips became as rare and prized as Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket. Convenience stores were consistently sold out of the item. Disgruntled employees became so annoyed by beleaguering inquiries about the next shipment they posted signs on their door notifying that they were out of stock.

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