Thursday, June 21, 2012

Korean invasion (Choco Pie edition)

Costco in Honolulu is selling ChocoPie in bulk, and Orion is trying to market it as a health-conscious snack. It only has 120 calories (per pie?) and it's pretty darned cheap (48 of them for $8... why, we could feed all of North Korea!).

Anyway, I was tempted to buy some after an unfortunate food sampling incident. I'm one of those people who will walk into a Costco and sample everything. Not because I'm cheap (though I am) but because they usually have some pretty good stuff out.

Well, I grabbed some curry-looking stuff and gave one to "M" (who swears she thought ChocoPie were from Japan) and even though it didn't smell like curry we ate it. After all, we could see there were grains of rice and something that looked like carrots and chicken.

And indeed, that's what it tasted like, except it tasted like it coming up the wrong way. As in regurgitated. Seriously, by far the most disgusting thing I'd ever eaten at Costco. Then I finally looked at what it was: bulk emergency rations. As in food that you can store in your fallout shelter for a few years (I guess there are enough power outages from hurricanes and earthquakes on this island metropolis that it's not a bad idea).

Really, if that's all I have to look forward to, I hope the crisis takes me first (nah, maybe I'll try to go kill a wild boar).

The vomit taste persisted, which was why I was going to get the ChocoPie. But then I calculated 48 times 120 and I realized we were talking 1-2/3 pounds of weight gain.

At any rate, I wanted to point out that, at least on Oahu, there are more and more signs of the Korean wave. Sam's Club is selling Jinro soju, and kalbi is, well, it's ubiquitous. They even have it at the Golden Palace in Chinatown, my favorite dim sum place.



  1. I believe Moon Pies originated in the U.S. before making their way to Japan and then South Korea several decades later. Anyway, if you want to get rich, Choco Pies sell for about $10 a piece on the North Korean black market.

    Oh, by the way, I just came back from Costco here in Daejeon and the price for that same box of Choco Pies is almost double at about 16,000 won. While a box of very similar Sam's Club moon pies were about $5 for a box in April when I was in Houston and were made by a local (Texas/Southwest) bakery chain for Walmart/Sam's Club. But that's the great/bad thing about the United States, there's so much choice, yet most people aren't even aware of it unless they travel across the country quite a bit. The worst part of it all is that I can only find my favorite brand of dill pickles in Alabama (Alabam Girl).

  2. Hi, Kushibo, if you're interested, I have a couple of pieces on the Chosun of Peace:


  3. Not so sure its a korea wave, but rather to cater to the korean and korean american shoppers. Costco is trying to supply products it thinks it shoppers wants. Who knows the manager of your costco might even be korean. Asians fastest growing minority these days, they gotta eat.
    In case you havent noticed , lots of koreans and japanese running around in your area.

    1. Oh, I'm sure that's why Costco is doing it. And yeah, there are indeed many Koreans and Japanese in Honolulu (Sam's Club is on Keeaumoku Street, an area affectionately called "Koreamoku").

      But I was struck by Orion's fairly adept attempt to market the Choco Pie to a non-Korean market segment. (And Costco's display of the OCP was very prominent.)

  4. maybe your mom should have taught you to look at what your eating before throwing it in your mouth.

    1. She had her hands full convincing us that there was no such thing as "the five-second rule."

      But yeah, I'd put a bit too much faith in Costco at that moment.

  5. They even sell Korean drama DVDs at some of the Costcos in Orange County (CA).

    1. Yeah, I've seen them at the local Costco.

      Here in Honolulu, they're a huge hit at Don Quijote (formerly Daiei), a Japanese department store that has a large store in the heavily Korean-Japanese district of Keeaumoku.


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