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NPR's Scott Detrow gives the verdict on Korea's green onion cereal, 3 years later


OK, a little bit of a follow-up, three years in the making.


RASCOE: Those of you with good memories might recall this story we featured on WEEKEND EDITION back when Scott Detrow was filling in as a guest host.


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


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).

RASCOE: Now, why the big deal about green onion Chex? And why was the singer singing, I'm sorry over and over in Korean? The backstory - in 2004, Kellogg's Korea asked folks to vote for a new flavor of Chex, chocolate or green onion. And green onion won overwhelmingly. But Associated Press reporter Juwon Park told us that Kellogg's Korea was not happy about that outcome.

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

RASCOE: It took until 2020 for Kellogg's Korea to finally make that rigged election right and put green onion Chex into production. And that was the end of our story until last week, when a box showed up on the desk of Scott Detrow postmarked July 2020. It had sat in NPR's mailroom for three years. You know, there was that pandemic. Scott knew he had to open it.

DETROW: The only things I can read are Kellogg's and limited edition, and then there's Korean lettering. And there is what appears to be an angry Hulk-colored Chex cereal with bad breath. It's got, like, green squiggly breath. And then behind him, there's a chocolate-looking Check who I don't know - it could be horrified. It could be surprise. There's a look of astonishment on the chocolate-flavored Check in the background.

RASCOE: We need a taste test. Do it, Scott. Do it.

DETROW: So I'm going to try it plain first. There - oh, there's the onion. The onion was - it started out a little sweet, and then just a rush of onion comes in, which is, like, really not a good combination. So I guess try it with milk. Like, it's cereal. We should try it with milk and see if that makes it any different. All right. Dubious. That truly tastes terrible. That tastes terrible. Yeah. You've got sweet. You've got onion. And you've got milk all kind of mixed together. Would not recommend.

RASCOE: He's not a fan of the green onion Chex with milk, but...

DETROW: OK. So I went back and listened to the original story, and the reporter we talked to did suggest that based on the flavor profile, maybe it's more of, like, a bar snack-type cereal that you have with a beer. We went ahead and got that ready just in case, so we're just going to eat it out of the box with some beer and see if this makes it any better. OK. This makes the most sense so far, as predicted three years ago when we did this story. Yeah. So do not eat this with milk like normal cereal. Just put it in a bowl. Have it with some beer if you want. But like, I think really, you're fine not having it. That's my takeaway.

RASCOE: NPR's Scott Detrow, now a host of All Things Considered, finally getting his taste of green onion Chex cereal three years after he first told us all about it on this program.

(SOUNDBITE OF BOOKER T. AND THE MGS' "GREEN ONIONS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Ayesha Rascoe is a White House correspondent for NPR. She is currently covering her third presidential administration. Rascoe's White House coverage has included a number of high profile foreign trips, including President Trump's 2019 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, and President Obama's final NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland in 2016. As a part of the White House team, she's also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast.