04 October 2007
Given my love for all things deep fried, this may surprise a lot of people, but I wouldn't consider myself a donut fan. I do crave a donut on occasion, particularly when I see Homer Simpson eating one of those pink glazed donuts with sprinkles. It's probably a good thing that I don't have a weakness for donuts, because Korea would likely lead to my downfall.
From what I've observed, Korean business are strongly driven by trends. The same can be said back at home, but I think this business model is especially true in Korea. Take for example, the prevalence of donut shops. For a culture that claims to dislike overly sweet desserts, you'd be surprised to see the number of Dunkin' Donuts and Krispy Kreme in the greater Seoul area. It's just so strange to see so many donut shops in Korea. Deep fried rings of dough, powdered sugar, and artificial jellies just seem like things that only an American would appreciate.
I routinely pass by a Krispy Kreme on my way to the subway station, but I finally decided to check it out yesterday. As they do back home, they offer you a free glazed donut. I always struggle with the decision to accept this freebie. On one hand, a single donut is all I need to fulfill my donut craving. After one donut, the law of diminishing marginal utility kicks into action. So, the purchase of a second donut after the free donut would be overkill. On the other hand, it's a free donut! How can I turn down free stuff? In the end, I usually take the free donut, and purchase a second donut because I hate to disappoint the friendly donut clerk.
Anyways, I digress. We're focusing on Korean Krispy Kreme donuts. The Korean menu offers a much more interesting variety. In America, the donuts usually vary in shape, color, or sprinkles. The flavor offerings are not very exciting. That's why I find myself posting pictures of these Korean donuts. You have also sorts of interesting flavors -- cheesecake inspired donuts, green-tea filled donuts, cookie crunched donuts, peach filling donuts -- the list goes on. I was tempted to try all of the donuts, but as I've mentioned, I prefer to consume one donut a day, two at most.
You should check out the Krispy Kreme websites and compare the donut menus for yourself.
Krispy Kreme Korea
Krispy Kreme Amercia
So, the next time you're in Korea and see a Krispy Kreme or Dunkin' Donuts, don't just roll your eyes and dismiss these chains as another example of evil American domination. Step in, and you'll find that even donut shops can offer a cultural experience.