The Unique Way People In South Korea Eat Their Fries

It's hard to find someone who doesn't love fries. This side dish has become practically ubiquitous, and you can find it on the menu in restaurants all around the world. While you can definitely try the traditional french fry in many places, you can also spot a unique take on fries from each country.

South Korea is one of those — and it has a version of fries that might make you do a double-take: honey butter fries. McDonald's, which operates 500 locations in the country, got the buzz going about this new fry flavor in 2015. The fast food chain only sold the limited-time menu item from February 27 to March 8, but it made a big impression (via TakePart).

Though the promotional photos of the honey butter fries from McDonald's Korea showed a dish of butter and a tub of honey next to a pile of fries, it appears that the fries actually came with a packet labeled "Honey Butter Seasoning," based on a photo from an Instagram user.

Why McDonald's introduced honey butter fries in South Korea

Fries with honey and butter? This might like a bizarre combination (though some might say the same about fries dipped in a Wendy's Frosty), but Koreans love this buttery, sweet, and salty flavor profile. In fact, McDonald's Korea launched this particular item because honey butter chips became ridiculously popular there (via Food Network).

Haitai, the Korean manufacturer who first introduced honey butter chips in 2014, created the flavor because of survey results that revealed Korean women wanted potato chips that were sweeter than what was available (via HuffPost). Honey butter chips weren't just a success — they became a frenzy that overtook the country. Stores sold out so quickly on the product and had so much demand for it that they had to limit customers to just one bag each (via Kotaku).

Because of the scarcity, the chips became as "rare and prized as Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket." K-pop stars, actresses, and even news broadcasters took selfies with the product and posted it on social media. Just a few months after Haitai's release, sales of honey butter chips had reached about $9.3 million (via VICE).

The popularity of the honey butter flavor in South Korea

The immense popularity of the elusive honey butter chips created an international black market around them. One bag of the chips would normally cost around $2.40 at a convenience store, but people sold them online at exorbitant prices. The winning bid for two 120-gram bags of honey butter chips on eBay even went as high as $103.50.

Honey butter became a trending flavor. Some manufacturers started selling their own versions of the chips. Other companies even released other kinds of products featuring the honey butter flavor, such as beer, dried squid, cookies, lattes, and Cheetos (via BuzzFeed News). The craze even found its way over to America.

For a certain period of time, Trader Joe's sold its own brand of Honey Butter Flavored Potato Chips for $2. PopSugar said the chips were thicker than Lay's but thin enough to dissolve quickly and had a "satisfying snap." Despite the initial apprehension towards the honey butter flavor, the editor wrote that she couldn't stop eating them.