In the distant future, when all food is eaten in pill form and my great-grandkids ask me to describe the magic of breakfast cereal, I’ll oil my cyborg jaw motor and tell them about Oreo O’s.
I’ll tell them about the 10 glorious years America spent eating those cookies ‘n’ creme flavored rings. I’ll tell them about Oreo O’s 1997 introduction, orange-sprinkled Halloween Oreo O’s from 2000, and 2002’s marshmallowy Extreme Creme Taste Oreo O’s. I’ll captivate them with tales of sunglasses-wearing milk glob mascots who closely resembled PSY from Gangnam Style.
Then there’ll be a brief intermission as I explain what the heck Gangnam Style was. Seriously: I don’t know how it got over 2 billion views either, children of the future.
Then I’ll tell them about the tragic 2007 discontinuation of Oreo O’s. I’ll pause to build suspense, and then I’ll tell them about the legal loophole that allowed South Korean food manufacturer Dongsuh Companies Inc. to keep producing Oreo O’s as the rest of the world mourned the loss of milk’s favorite cereal. With my own eyes glistening, I’ll tell them about the E. coli contamination that forced Dongsuh to recall Oreo O’s in 2014, as well as the two-year Oreo O’s drought that followed—known globally as “The Second Dark Ages.”
But then I’ll finish with the story of Fall 2016, when an unexpected tweet from a Korean food account alerted me that the dawn of a new age was upon us.
@cerealouslynet good news, oreo o's back again in korea this month 😀
— foodnjoy (@foodnjoy) September 4, 2016
Sure enough, sellers began flooding eBay, and after an arduously long waiting period—during which Cerealously’s friend Gabe Fonseca had his own Oreo O’s boxes opened and inspected by customs agents who probably just wanted to taste this forbidden cereal fruit—this arrived on my doorstep:
Ready? I hope so. It’s time to give my all-time favorite cereal the up-close tribute it deserves.
If my two above box images seem different, that’s because each side of this new Oreo O’s box switches between Korean and nostalgic English lettering. This is different than the first run of South Korean Oreo O’s (seen on the left below), which had a charming Korean cartoon on the back, instead.
But enough about the box. Because even though that dancing milk glob mascot belongs on a museum wall, we really care about what he’s hiding inside.
Just look at ’em: corrugated chocolate rings studded with creme sprinkles like cookie asteroids sent from another dimension. Every Oreo O extraterrestrial life form has double helix DNA made of cocoa powder and butter, and those dominant flavor strands twist together into a wonderful, cocoa buttery whole. The rings don’t quite crunch with the density of real Oreo wafers, but they sure as heck taste the same as their cookie relatives. Imagine a slightly oily milk chocolate, pulsating with raw creamy cacao energy.
The marshmallows may not be shaped like rainbows or skeletons, but I like to pretend they’re shaped like the glob mascot’s Doughboy-esque belly. Their shape doesn’t matter, though, because these ‘mallows are at the perfect textural intersection of crisp and spongy. Before long, they magically dissolve on your tongue into happy puddles of crackling, slightly browned vanilla sugar. They’re like roasted campfire marshmallows coated in a glaze of distilled Oreo creme filling.
But Oreo O’s need milk because of course Oreo O’s need milk! Milk’s creamy goodness soaks into every cereal piece’s Oreo pores (pOreos?). Milk makes the cookie sprinkles sparkle brighter than Homer Simpson on a box of Japanese dishwasher detergent. And most importantly, milk turns those marshmallows into semi-solid frosting nuggets.
Eaten altogether, Oreo O’s provide a wonderful cookies ‘n’ creme experience that’s unparalleled in American breakfast aisles. As I continued eating my bowl, more complex dairy notes emerged: it almost became like a custardy, cream cheesy Oreo cheesecake.
I better go grab the defibrillator after that description.
And the best part about South Korean Oreo O’s? The durable foil bag comes with its own adhesive “fresh tape” to keep the glorious cereal inside from going stale. American cereal manufacturers, take note: not all cereal bags have to split violently down the sides like a cartoon rifle barrel that Bugs Bunny stuck his finger in.
Oreo O’s are a testament to the power of teamwork, especially when it’s between cookies, cereal, and milk. Oreo O’s are proof that, if two wrongs make a right, then two rights make the best darn breakfast money can buy. But most of all, Oreo O’s are a reminder of a simpler time, a time when a wacky new snack was all it took to forget the world’s worries and get excited about eating Oreos in the morning.
I don’t know what I’ll tell my future great-grandkids about after Oreo O’s 2016 chapter. Maybe the cereal will come back to America. Maybe it’ll be too pure for this world and transcend our earthly plane. Maybe South Korea will carry a bowl over the border and finally make peace with North Korea over a happily shared spoonful of Extreme Creme Taste.
Or maybe I’ll just blow my life savings by continually importing boxes.
The Bowl: South Korean Oreo O’s Cereal
The Breakdown: When the only gripe I can think of is “could use more sprinkles,” you know a cereal is good. From the first chocolate cookie taste bud smack to the last sip of cheesecake endmilk, Oreo O’s are a cereal worth researching South Korean citizenship requirements for.
The Bottom Line: 10 Oreo O/Pillsbury Doughboy crossover cartoons out of 10
(Quick Nutrition Facts – my best translation – 120 calories, 0 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 1.2 grams of protein per 1 cup/30 gram serving)
***Bonus: if you’re as hyped about Oreo O’s as me, then you’ll love this brand new South Korean commercial, specially produced for the cereal’s 2016 reintroduction. I want this video screened at my wedding.***