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South Koreans Are Completely Obsessed With Honey-Flavored Chips, And Here's Why

04/16/2015 06:11 pm ET | Updated Apr 16, 2015
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Cronuts, ramen burgers and Franklin BBQ's brisket have proven that Americans are more than willing to line up for hours for a taste of a rare, exquisite food. But a snack in South Korea has inspired a level of frenzy so feverish you'd have to reach over to the world of toys, to products like Furbys and Tickle Me Elmos, to find an analogy.

Vice's Munchies blog published a fascinating story this week about South Korea's improbable obsession with Honey Butter chips, which are nothing more than potato chips with the taste of -- you guessed it -- honey and butter. Specifically, honey and butter from France. So they're classy!

Korean food conglomerate Haitai first released the chips last summer, after conducting a survey that found that South Korean women craved a sweeter potato chip than was currently available in the country, according to Korea JoongAng Daily. And since then, with the help of social media, they've become a national craze.

How much of a craze? They're almost always sold out at grocery stores around South Korea. Shops have even been known to hold raffles for the chance to buy bags of Honey Butter Chips, the outlet notes. Bags can fetch upward of $100 on eBay.

According to the Nikkei Asian Review, Haitai is building a new factory that will double its production capacity -- which may bring some sanity back to the market -- but it won't be open until spring of 2016. Until then, expect other companies to try and horn in on the craze: McDonald's locations in South Korea, for example, sold honey butter-flavored French fries for a couple weeks this winter, Kotaku noted.

At this point, there are at least three logical places the Honey Butter Chip frenzy could go: It could sputter out; It could remain a Korea-specific trend, or it could become one of those Korean exports embraced by the entire world. This last possibility seems especially likely if the people of South Korea continue to love the chips until the city of Pyeongchang hosts the Winter Olympics in 2018.

Also on HuffPost:

  • #1: Lay's
    Joseph Erdos/The Huffington Post
    Kettle Cooked Original Comments: "Perfect amount of crunch." "Good standard example." "Thick and crunchy, with good flavor."
  • #2: Cape Cod
    Joseph Erdos/The Huffington Post
    Kettle Cooked Potato Chips: 40% Reduced Fat, Original Comments: "Good crunch, but it's lacking that fatty flavor." "Very potatoey." "Crunchy and satisfying."
  • #3: Laurel Hill
    Joseph Erdos/The Huffington Post
    Kettle Cooked Potato Chips: Sea Salt Comments: "Great crunch factor." "The taste gets better as you chew." "Slightly bitter aftertaste."
  • Tied For #4: Herr's Natural
    Joseph Erdos/The Huffington Post
    Kettle Cooked Potato Chips: Sea Salt Comments: "Perfect amount of salt ... these are addictive." "Too thin for kettle chips." "Middle of the pack."
  • Tied For #4: Herr's
    Joseph Erdos/The Huffington Post
    Ripple Kettle Cooked Potato Chips Comments: "Not that interesting, but generally good." "Oooh, Ruffles!" "Good taste and flavor."
  • Tied For #6: Utz Natural
    Joseph Erdos/The Huffington Post
    Gourmet Medley Kettle Cooked Potato Chips Comments: "Sweet potato is oddly sweet." "I like the grease and the different flavored chips." "Bland but crispy."
  • Tied For #6: Trader Joe's
    Joseph Erdos/The Huffington Post
    Kettle Cooked Olive Oil Potato Chips Comments: "There's definitely an addictive quality to these." OMG, tastes like Cheetos!" "Good flavor ... is it peanut oil?"
  • Tied For #8: Kettle Brand Potato Chips
    Joseph Erdos/The Huffington Post
    Sea Salt Comments: "Tastes way too fried and salty." "Needs more salt." "There's a touch of sweetness in these." "Shatters like glass."
  • Tied For #8: Shop Rite
    Joseph Erdos/The Huffington Post
    Kettle Potato Chips: Original Comments: "Tastes a little funny, but I don't know why." "Shatters nicely, but I can't put my finger on the flavor."
  • Tied For #8: Lieber's
    Joseph Erdos/The Huffington Post
    Kettle Cooked Potato Chips: Original Comments: "Reminds me of a super salty Pringle." "VERY salty."
  • Tied For #11: Utz
    Joseph Erdos/The Huffington Post
    Kettle Classics: Gourmet Dark Russet Comments: "Tastes like burned chips, which I love!" "Burnt flavor ... ugh." "These taste like burned fries." "Like the flavor and near-burned-ness."
  • Tied For #11: Deep River
    Joseph Erdos/The Huffington Post
    Original Salted Kettle Cooked Potato Chips Comments: "Super crunchy, but bland." "Tastes too much like a dry baked potato." "Good crunch, not enough flavor."
  • #13: Herr's Kettle Cooked
    Joseph Erdos/The Huffington Post
    Kettle Cooked Potato Chips Comments: "These just taste like regular chips." "I want a tad more salt, but generally solid."
  • #14: Utz Natural
    Joseph Erdos/The Huffington Post
    Lightly Salted Kettle Cooked Comments: "Neutral." "Pretty standard." "I'm picking up an unusual flavor ..."
  • #15: Cape Cod
    Joseph Erdos/The Huffington Post
    Kettle Cooked Potato Chips: Original Comments: "Taste slightly like raw potato." "Tastes like seaweed?" "Actually tastes like Cape Cod."
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