In this first installement of Cultura, Monica takes you on a sweet ride filled with Korea’s booming delicacy — but maybe its a bit too sweet.
Each year in Ginseng country or South Korea there is always hype, craze, and phases for a certain niche food or drink that people debate and take sides of. This recent year the food debate goes to a type of chocolate called Mint-Choco (민트 초콜렛). Mint-Choco or mint chocolate is a combination of chocolate with mint flavorings such as peppermint, spearmint, or crème de menthe. Mint chocolate is usually added to sweet food such as candy, cookies, ice cream, hot chocolate, brownies, cakes, and many more. Mint chocolate is a flavor that people either love or hate. People who hate them mainly say that they taste like toothpaste or mouthwash.
In South Korea, the love for mint chocolate has become a huge deal. People that love them don’t just like them, they are obsessed with every mint chocolate-flavored thing. You can even say that Mint chocolate has taken over South Korea. People in the country have incorporated this flavor into a variety of food products, both sweet and savory foods, which might make you think the country has gone crazy for mint chocolate-flavored things.
This flavor is so popular that supporters are dubbed “민초단” or Min-chodan”, which translates to “mint chocolate chip army.” This supporter and fans of mint chocolate even have an Instagram account with the username @minchodan_official. They have a total of 852 posts with around 28.600 followers. This Instagram account stated that they are the protector of Min-chondan and working to prevent the extinction of mint chocolate-flavored things. The love for mint chocolate-flavored things also became a sensation among Kpop stars and idols. A few idols who have stated their love for mint chocolate are Jungkook and J-Hope from BTS, TXT’s Yeonjun and Huening Kai, Chungha, IU, and Lee Dongwook – just to name a few. The support for mint chocolate from K-idols only makes this flavor more popular and encourages fans to try them, which skyrocketed the sales of any mint chocolate-flavored snacks. A retailer said that on-year sales of products related to mint chocolate jumped 436 percent.
As the love for mint chocolate keeps increasing, the market tries to make any food into mint chocolate. However, people thought that min-chondan’s obsession had gone to an unhealthy level as they discovered that min-chondan had included mint chocolate in some savory foods. The three most controversial foods are mint chocolate fried chicken, mint chocolate tonkatsu (돈까스) or pork katsu, and even recently tteokbokki (떡볶이) mint chocolate.
Unsurprisingly, people have mixed reactions to these bizarre foods. Some people who have tried have stated that they rate it 0/10. The food taste was so bizarre and some even made a few funny reaction videos to it. But, some people didn’t think so, as they said that “it was not that bad”. So, would you give these foods a try?
Created by : Monica Ayu Sudiro
Home Uni : Universitas Indonesia
Host Uni : Yonsei University