Korea is cuckoo for
Cocoa Puffs fried chicken. And in a country that is madly eager to promote its food overseas, to the point that someone paid upwards of $250,000 in the New York Times for a one day ad to promote Bibimbap, you would think that Korea could spend a fraction of that daily ad budget on getting someone (like me?) to do a quick Google search to notice that they are totally overlooking the export potential of the food that they are gorging on in their hofs and being shuttled around like crazy by motorbike delivery drivers. Korean-style Chicken!
Take a look at this link. That’s Naver’s list of all fried chicken companies in Korea who have gone ahead and made a website, most with aspirations of franchising, like all Korean restaurant upstarts usually set as a short-term goal. That list has over 1000 fried chicken sites on there.
Yet, when you look overseas to the United States, you hear something. A murmur of rumbling stomachs. The murmur for BonChon Chicken and it’s double-fried Korean chicken. They’ve wasted no time in getting across the pond to start opening up stores. And the Filipinos are batshit crazy for it, as well!
Look at the Yelp talk on this place:
From Centreville, Virginia:
This place is amazing. Even though you wait 30 minutes for the food sometimes, it is worth it every time.
From New York:
I could easily eat BonChon every week …
Favorite chicken place. PERIOD! ?Whyyyyyy did it take me so long to go here?
This is how god intended the letters KFC to be used: Korean Fried Chicken.
From Rockville, MA:
OMG, what can I say about this place? ?The chicken is YUMMMMMM!!!
From Fort Lee, NJ:
My favorite fried chicken in the whole wide world.
These aren’t just Koreans living in the US who are eating this. Nor are these places propped up by thriving K-Town’s, such as where Kyochon has been trying to make inroads to entering the US market. The point here is that Bonchon has achieved a viral effect among Americans who are being introduced to an offshoot of Korean cuisine, in a food form that they can already identify with. Yet over 1000 Korean chicken companies are sitting on their hands for overseas expansion and instead opting to fall over each other for the limited ceiling of 50 million people and its over-saturated Korean fried chicken market.
I know that this doesn’t fit the mold of what Korea wants to promote as its cuisine. Korean food marketers (the ones with the budgets, anyways) feel the need to promote Korean cultural values through its food, despite other aspects of its diverse cuisine resonating more strongly with its overseas target audience. It’s like a Cinderella syndrome, where the American prince from his castle in New York doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the primped up Korean sisters wearing $250,000 dresses, but has his eyes on someone he can relate to.
Maybe it’s time for Korean cuisine marketing types to start listening, instead of telling the world what they should be eating.
On that note, what’s your favorite Korean chicken place (in Korea) that you feel has export potential for overseas markets? As for me, I’m rooting for 굽네치킨.