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South Korea Gets Long Awaited Green Onion Chex

SCOTT DETROW, HOST:

In South Korea, there's a new Chex flavor in the breakfast aisle.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TAE JIN-AH: (Singing in non-English language).

DETROW: Green onion - Kellogg's has rolled out this new variety of Chex with a commercial featuring Tae Jin-ah, a popular Korean singer, rocking a green suit-and-hat combination that can only be described as scallion-rific (ph).

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TAE JIN-AH: (Singing in non-English language).

DETROW: Over and over, he sings happily, I'm sorry. Why is he apologizing for Kellogg's? Well, a marketing stunt in 2004 left onion lovers feeling raw. Kellogg's Korea had staged an election for a new flavor - chocolate or green onion.

JUWON PARK: To Kellogg's horror, a lot of people voted for Chaka, the green onion flavor. And then according to South Korean media at the time, Chaka had a overwhelming win.

DETROW: That's Juwon Park, who covers Asian entertainment for the Associated Press.

PARK: Kellogg's Korea deleted votes, or what they call a duplicate votes, and then they held additional votings (ph). So they would put a ad hoc voting booth in an amusement park on top of deleting votes. So, I mean, at the end, the chocolate-flavored cereal won.

DETROW: A rigged election. Chocolate went into production. Green onion fans were left with a bad taste in their mouths.

PARK: It reminded them of, you know, dictatorship in past decades in South Korea.

DETROW: But as the saying goes, the arc of the moral universe is long and bends toward justice. Sixteen years later, green onion flavor Chex is not only on the shelves; it's almost sold out. But that most important question remains - how do they taste?

PARK: It does not taste like green onion. For me, it's a slight mix of salty and sweet. And it tastes like a grilled onion, actually. I think it would be a really good bar snack.

DETROW: So when you've got your green onion Chex, you might want to reach for the beer, not the milk. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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