4.047 Combination Pizza

Cycle 4 – Item 47

21 (Thu) February 2013

Combination Pizza


at E-Mart

-Yongsan, Seoul, Republic of Korea-

with W

Among its wide selection of ready-to-go items, E-Mart offers pizza.  The choices include combination or bulgogi, each sold by the slice for 2,500 won or by the pie for 12,500 won, format/size/price apparently emulating the Costco model.  In terms of taste and texture, however, everything’s been Koreanized: crust = fluffy/sweet like pastry, tomato sauce = watery/sweet like ketchup, pink sausage = squishy/sweet like I don’t know what.  Strangely, Koreans seem to prefer their making their American food sickly sweet (see for example 4.029 Special Burger2.206 Hotdog with Megasauce and Honey Mustard).  And how sloppy is the knife work on the onions and bell peppers?!  All in all, a very poor effort.

Nevertheless, or more likely therefore, the pizza was an instant sensation when introduced in late 2010, prompting an outcry from the SME (small and medium enterprises) sector, mostly pizza delivery joints across the country being mom & pop operations.  They claimed that E-Mart was engaging in unfair business practices by selling the pizza for so cheap, essentially a form of dumping to get customers in the store.  On the flip side, consumer groups used the opportunity to allege a long-standing practice of price fixing by the delivery joints, resulting in an overpriced pizza market, where a pie similar to though smaller than the E-Mart product would sell for close to 30,000 won.  Before the controversy had been settled, another conflict arose when dumbass rival Lotte Mart did a similar thing with cheap fried chicken, 5,000 won vs. around 15,000 for a bucket; I mean, are these guys not reading the papers ?!?! (see generally “South Koreans Push Back Against Giant Hypermarkets“).  For whatever reason, Lotte Mart discontinued the fried chicken, but E-Mart has kept the pizza going.   Alas, I never had a chance to taste the chicken.  Alas, I did taste the pizza.

Reportedly, waiting times for the fried chicken took upwards of 2 hours; seriously, could it really have been worth it?!?!



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