|Courtesy of Instagram|
By Lee Ji-hye
Anyone with a passing interest in mainstream Korean culture has by now heard of the Honey Butter Chip, a product by confectionery firm Haitai that has gained massive popularity in recent weeks.
It seems like people would beg, borrow, and steal to get their hands on these chips, which the company describes as containing "sweet, sweet honey from beehives" and French "gourmet butter."
Many shops have sold out of the product, prompting people to hunt for the chip and vent their frustrations online when they can't find any.
For those lucky enough to find one, a bag of the chip costs around 2,400 won ($2.15). However, the bags are going for almost double the original price at online auctions.
Like it or not, the chip is a phenomenon for now, especially on the Internet. Here are six honey-and-butter flavored trends circulating on the Web right now, which may help explain the buzz surrounding the product.
1. There are conspiracy theories
Given the sudden success, many have offered theories as to how the chip became so popular.
Perhaps the most persistent accusation is that Haitai has deliberately sold out of the product to stoke more demand.
However, an official from Haitai told the Hankook Ilbo that despite working around the clock to produce the chip since the end of September, the company has simply not been able to keep up with demand.
2. ‘One per customer, please'
Demand has been so overwhelming that some convenient stores have posted signs asking customers to buy only one bag each.
"The hours of when the chips come in are between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m." read one poster, which later went viral.
"Supply is always low, so please be understanding and follow our policy of buying only one bag of Honey Butter Chip per person (even groups) for each day."
3. Celebrities are fawning
|Broadcaster Park Ji-yoon / Courtesy of Instagram|
Actress So Yoo-jin posted a picture of a bag of Honey Butter Chips, along with the comment, "Why do you do this to me? Get away from me! Stop tempting me so much!"
Park Ji-yoon, a former anchor on broadcaster KBS, shared a photo on her Instagram account of herself, holding a bag of Honey Butter Chips. "I can't believe myself for laughing and crying over one bag of chips," she wrote. "But they're so good."
4. It's making people Internet-famous
A Twitter user by the handle of @hodori_love compared the experience of finally obtaining a bag of Honey Butter Chips to purchasing illicit drugs.
"I was wandering around because there were no stores selling the chips, when a worker from a shop saw me," the Twitter user wrote.
"He asked me quietly, 'How many bags do you need?'"
The tweet received more than 5,700 retweets and 450 "favorites" within five days.
In a post on the online community, "Today's Humor," one netizen shared a picture of a bag of Honey Butter Chips taped to three other bags of chips. The post read, "The bundle of four is holding our honey butter chip hostage for 3,300 won!"
Hundreds of people replied to the comment, including one who proclaimed, "I need to save it. Where is this place?"
5. Not everyone's a fan
Online communities and threads with a less-than-flattering perspective on the product have sprouted up as well.
"We are the pigs of the snack industry," an Internet user said in a community on Joonggo Nara a secondhand good forum where the product has been selling. "What they're doing is feeding us manure, so we'll come back for more and more."
6. Desperate times, desperate measures
|Courtesy of Twitter|
Twitter user @Benedicito has received almost 1,500 retweets for his photo of homemade, honey-flavored, buttery potato chips.
"I went to at least two convenient stores, but I couldn't get them," he wrote.
"So I just bought regular potato chips and put honey and butter on them."
Another Twitter user responded, "You're a genius…I think I'll do the same instead of looking around!"