It's official: McDonald’s Korea has stopped serving honey butter fries. Now that the danger's passed, I think we should discuss it. 'Cause it's McCrazy. In fairness, Korea brought honey butter fries upon itself. Every few months the country spazzes out over some New Hot Item. It's most noticeable--or I notice it most--with snacks. From schneeballen to pipe ice cream to churros, every season brings its own fad. Venders pop up in markets and shopping districts, attracting long ribbons of customers waiting patiently to buy. We sometimes join these epic lines just to see what's on the other end.
Last fall, the country lost its mind for Honey Butter Chips. Stores couldn't keep them in stock. Some posted signs asking people to limit themselves to one bag so there would be enough to go round (imagine that in the US). Celebrities took selfies with the coveted bags, turning their fans into chip-hunting maniacs. The maker, Haitai, was accused of creating an artificial shortage to increase the desirability of its product. Other brands started pumping out spin-offs.
McDonald’s took one look and said, “We’ve got to get in on this.”
It took them a while. The craze reached its peak several months ago. (I’ve yet to see the Haitai chips in real life, though, so I guess they’re still a thing.) While ordering McDonald’s last week we saw a new menu item: honey butter fries. Why not? We upgraded our order.
To make honey butter fries, you take a bag of regular fries, dump in a powder flavor packet, and shake until the contents are no longer delicious.
"These taste like a movie theater's butt!" Sam announced with alarm. "Bleugh! I've got honey butter burps!"
We tossed the rest in trash and brushed our teeth.
"Now the toothpaste tastes like honey butter!" Sam cried. He wouldn't let me kiss him for hours. Apparently the smell was still on my face.
The next time we went grocery shopping, we checked the chip aisle. No Honey Butter, but there was a slew of honey-inspired alternatives. They had Honey + Butter, Honey Milk, and Honey Mustard. Even Doritos was debuting a Honey Chili flavor. We brought a cross-section home for sampling.
These too ended up in the garbage.
(Dear Doritos Korea, Stop coating your chips in sugar. Especially the Cool Ranch. They taste of sadness. Thank you.)
There are two possibilities here. One, our taste buds are misaligned, and these are actually delicious to a Korean palate. Two, the hype is really over getting the chips, not eating them.
I’d like to find out, but I don't know any Koreans who’ve gotten their hands on real Honey Butter Chips. Or who’ve tried McHoneyButterFries.
This is weird, since it sounds like those flavor packets were a big success. There were even rumors of an off-menu Honey Butter McFlurry. As far as I can tell, it involved dumping a packet over vanilla ice cream. I'm just relieved they've stopped serving them. Otherwise I might have gotten one for research purposes.