I feel like Korea is always pushing the boundaries when it comes to inventing new and unusual crazes or fads, particularly in the snack food department. In fact, when you visit any Korean supermarket you are guaranteed an entire aisle fully stocked with junk/snack food. Some stuff is seemingly normal and others not so much. So I’ve decided to compile a small list of must try Korean chips. Love them or hate them… you won’t know until you try. Honey Butter Chips (허니버터칩)
- For the past couple of months, Honey Butter chips have been all the rage here in South Korea. For any not in the know, this particular snack is brought to you by a company by the name of Haitai-Calbee Confectionery Co. It has been highly speculated that the company purposefully produces small amounts of these chips to create the effect of a drug addict being painfully weened off crack. Until just recently, stores have been wiped. The only way to obtain one of these coveted bags would to be to win it off a game machine, purchase a new cell phone (incentive from cell companies) or know a dealer (yes, seriously). For all the fuss it caused, you have to be wondering they are actually any good. Personally, I found them to be tastier the more I ate them. At first bite, the taste is actually quite unusual. There’s this strange artificial buttery taste followed by a sweet honey-like after taste. However, as you continue to eat them the flavor begins to grow on you. I can’t say that I’ve ever tasted anything similar to this unique combo.
- Verdict: Would I try them again? Sure. Would I give up my first born? Probably not. They’re pretty good and a bit addictive when you have them in your hands, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to obtain a bag.
Lobster Chips (랍스터칩)
- Following the Honey Butter Craze, many other companies wanted to latch on to this cash cow. E-Mart, one of Korea’s largest supermarket chains, decided to team up with Haitai-Calbee Confectionery Co. to create a new line of “premium” potato chips. Under the brand name “Peacock Premium Potato Chip,” which can only be found at E-Mart, four flavors were developed: lobster, cheddar cheese and onion, salt and peppercorn, and Thai sweet. I haven’t tried them all, but the flavor that immediately caught my attention was lobster because… well, LOBSTER! I was curious as to how they would go about making a chip taste like lobster. Asked and answered. The chips are lobster flavored in the way that lattes are pumpkin spice flavored. They don’t taste so much of lobster as they do the things lobsters are seasoned with.
- Verdict: Delicious! If you like really flavorful food, you will adore these chip. Personally, I find them far more appealing than the Honey Butter chips since they have more of a savory taste. I always make sure to gab a bag… or two when I’m at E-Mart.
Chocolate & Strawberry Shrimp Chips (초코는 새우편/ 딸기는 새우편)
- Shrimp chips have long been a favorite snack among asian countries. I love shrimp, so whoever thought to transform them into a chip is not only a genius, but some sort of wizard. I’ve been eating them since I was a kid, I mean who doesn’t like shrimp?! When you think about it, people also like milk chocolate and maybe even strawberry flavored chocolate. I believe this must’ve been the thought process that led to the concoction of Lotte’s Chocolate and Strawberry Shrimp chips. The Chocolate Shrimp chips hits your taste buds in layers. First you taste the chocolate, then the shrimp chip, followed by another wave of chocolate and ending with a shrimpy after taste. The Strawberry Shrimp Chips have less of a clear taste. Sometimes you can taste the shrimp flavor, other times just the strawberry chocolate.
- Verdict: Must try. They might not sound all that appetizing, but the unique flavor can be surprisingly addicting. Personally I found the chocolate ones to be way better than the strawberry ones. So if you can only convince yourself to try one flavor… you can’t go wrong with chocolate… probably. Anyway, don’t knock it till you try it.
Bacon Chips (베이컨칩)
- Who doesn’t like bacon? In my experience, bacon can go with just about anything, salads, burgers, pasta and even ice cream! So, it should come to no ones surprise that someone finally put bacon into chip form. These particular chips come in a cute bacon-like shape, complete with two-toned stripes. While they have a corn chip-like consistency, they have more of a pork rind texture and mouth feel. There is a definite artificial bacon flavor to them. In fact, when you open the bag you immediately get whiff of the strong bacon aroma. What’s interesting, is that all while you’re eating them you get a strong bacon flavor, but you get a nice smokey taste in the end.
- Verdict: Tasty! If you don’t mind artificial flavoring and love bacon, then you’ll love these chips. The smokiness draws you in and light texture keeps you munching. Once you crack a bag open, you won’t be able to put it down.
- Sweet potato, as well as anything sweet potato flavored is quite popular in Korea. You can find just about anything in Sweet Potato flavor, from cereals and lattes to breads, cakes and ice cream. So, a sweet potato chip might seem kind of basic in comparison but they are pretty popular, especially with kids and toddlers. While the snack aisles at the supermarkets might be overwhelmed with sweet potato chips, this one is undeniably one of the most popular although it’s originally a Japanese snack. Brought to you by Calbee, the makers of Honey Butter Chips, these chips have a light corn chip consistency with a unique onion like shape. While definitely distinct, the sweet potato flavor is light and doesn’t really have much of an artificial tinge to it. You also get a bit of a salty potato chip aftertaste tying the literal idea of potato and chip together.
- Verdict: Yum! This snack tastes exactly like what you would expect from a sweet potato chip. You get that nice balance of sweet and salty. Personally I think they are a bit underrated, as I enjoyed them a good amount more than their Honey Butter counterpart.
As a thank you to all my followers, I’d like to have my first give away! Growing up outside of Korea, I know it can be a bit difficult to get your hands on Korean snacks and even when you can, there’s always that pesky “imported goods” price tag. So I’d like to send 1 lucky winner some of the tasty Korean snacks I mentioned in this post. To qualify, all you have to do is write a comment about the strangest snack you’ve ever tried or which of the above snacks are you most curious to try in the comment box below or on my Facebook Page. The winner will be announced on August 3rd. Good luck everyone and thanks for reading!