Street Food, Usually Hot, Finds Match In Ice Cream

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Street Food, Usually Hot, Finds Match In Ice Cream

Roasted sweet potatoes, hotok (a Korean pastry filled with honey and sesame seeds), kukwhapang (chrysanthemum cakes), and bunguhpang (fish cakes) are hot wintertime snacks commonly sold on the street. But some goodies that normally arrive fresh from the oven are now being served cold.

These street snacks have been incorporated with ice cream, giving Korean ice cream makers a new sales pitch for the winter.

Their sales are usually slow in cold weather, but companies such as Lotte Confectionery, Haitai Confectionery and Lotte Samgang are hopeful that this year will see that trend change.

A spokesperson at Lotte Confectionery said of its waffle-ice cream product, "Because the ice cream is put inside the waffle, it doesn't feel cold at the first bite, and consumers like the combination of the waffle, sweet red bean paste and fruit jelly." Increasing sales of waffle-type ice cream products have led to a market worth 15 billion won ($1.2 million) a year.

Sales of the "Waffle Monaka" by Lotte Confectionery hit 2.5 billion won last month. Compared with the 1.5 billion won recorded in the same period last year, sales have grown about 70 percent.

Other products have also fared well so far. "Karibi Choge," a large scallop-shaped ice cream, hit sales of one billion won last October, also topping last year's sales by 70 percent. Sales of "Koon Oksusu," roasted corn-on-the-cob, made 1.2 billion won, a 30 percent increase from last October - even though ice cream is not involved, of course.

Modern versions of the chrysanthemum cakes are also expected to sell well this year, as they are pitched to satisfy nostalgia for old-style Korean street snacks. The sticky rice cakes now come with ice cream and sweet red bean paste.

Having sold over one billion won worth of its "Wang Simona" ice cream last month, Haitai Confectionery this month introduced a product that is also reminiscent of street-style junk food.

Its "Kul-Hotok," or honey pastry, is a soft ice cream inside a waffle topped with syrup and chopped peanuts. Haitai Confectionery hopes this product will bring in a further one billion won of sales a month.

Who would have known that cold street stuff would be hot again?

by Lee Jong-tae

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