Discover “Squid Game”s Dalgona Candy, The Sweet and Delicious Creation of Korea

In a short time, Squid Game has risen to be the most famous Netflix show, and earned itself many positive reviews. Let's learn about this candy in the article below.
October 05, 2021 | 07:49
Photo: Thetimesofsindh
Photo: Thetimesofsindh

Korean drama Squid Game has quickly become one of Netflix's most-watched original series, leaving international viewers intrigued on many levels.

The nine-episode season follows a group of down-on-their-luck people who find themselves trapped in a secluded arena, where they must compete in a series of nostalgic children's games with life-or-death consequences for a chance to win millions of dollars.

In one particular challenge — which has given fans a sweet tooth — the players attempt to survive by carving shapes into a piece of honeycomb toffee, without letting it crumble or break. In the show, the shapes come in a circle, triangle, star or umbrella.

Social media has since become fascinated with the cookie, a beloved Korean treat known as dalgona, which is now experiencing a rise in popularity.

The history of Dalgona sweet

Photo: Yummy Tummy Aarthi
Photo: Yummy Tummy Aarthi

The origin of this Korean sweet is uncertain; however, it is presumed to have originated in Busan in the 1960s. Unlike the original toffees from the United Kingdom and the West, the recipe of the Korean confectionery is very simple. Put either a spoonful of sugar or a block of glucose on a metal ladle, and melt and stir. When the liquid turns sticky and yellow, a pinch of baking soda or sodium bicarbonate makes it rise. Then put the puffed up sugar and soda on a plate to let it cool. It can then be flattened to stamp out different shapes. This quick, simple recipe makes it easy to make dalgona at home, and it provides entertainment when bought from vendors.

Back in the 1970s to 1990s, there were dalgona vendors who sold pieces of the sweet with a fun challenge for 50 to 100 won. Heart shapes, star shapes, and many other shapes were impressed on the round, flat toffee cakes with a cookie-cutter-like utensil. Vendors challenged their young customers to trim away the toffee outside the impressed image using only a pin in the depression – without damaging the image! As a reward for successful trimming, the consumer received a free candy or other reward such as prize money or a gift, depending on the region. In addition to the rewards, the fun part was that you got to eat the trimmed-away parts as you went. At first, the task may not sound too challenging; however, cold hands and cold weather rapidly cooling the toffee could make the task quite difficult. This fun challenge has traditionally gathered people under beach umbrellas as they shared joy and competition together around this special treat.

Photo: Adilah on Twitter
Photo: Adilah on Twitter

In the past, when gas stoves were still uncommon, vendors had to heat their ladles over coal briquettes. From the 1980s, dalgona slowly faded away for such reasons as low quality and unsanitary production. Of course, the candy is also a far cry from a healthy snack as it contains 99 percent sugar. These days, vendors still sometimes appear around parks and tourist attractions, using the retro aspect of the snack as a selling point. The advancement of technology has made automated dalgona-making machines possible, and these can also be found in front of stationery stores.

The Show Has Created a Huge Demand for Dalgona

An Yong-hui, 37, has been making dalgona for the past eight years in a university district in the capital Seoul. He and his co-workers used 15 kg (33 lb) of sugar to make 700 candies for the filming in June 2020 of the show's third episode, which is described by Netflix as equal parts "sweet and deadly".

As the show's popularity has surged since its premiere last month, An hasn't been able to go home for a week in order to meet the demand from eager "Squid Game" fans that start queuing up outside his 2-square-metre (2.4 square yards) street kitchen at 11 a.m, according to Reuters.

Photo: Pepper
Photo: Pepper

He now sells more than 500 dalgonas a day, from less than 200 before the show's premiere.

"We are thinking we should place a rifle here as well," An said, chuckling at his reference to the show's outsized repercussions for failure.

On the show, the downtrodden contestants vie for a prize of 45.6 billion won ($38.40 million) by competing in games that recall a more idyllic pre-digital time.

Netflix said in an article on the show's creation that director Hwang Dong-hyuk's selection of childhood games was deliberate to make the show more relatable to the audience.

For South Koreans, dalgona sellers were a fixture in front of schools until the early 2000s but the trend has died down since then and, according to An, the candy is even older.

In line with the show's viral explosion, international viewers are posting their efforts at making dalgona and passing the challenge on video-sharing platform TikTok and other social media.

Making Dalgona candy is easy

Photo: Dalgona Kit From Amazon
Photo: Dalgona Kit From Amazon

In order to make your own dalgona, start by melting some sugar on low heat using the ladle, while also stirring constantly. Once the sugar is melted, add a pinch of baking soda and keep stirring. You'll see the color and consistency change as the baking soda is added and mixed. Turn off from heat once the consistency looks similar to the final stage of dalgona coffee, then pour it onto the tray and flatten the candy using a press. Place and lightly press the mold on top of the candy before it cools and hardens to imprint a shape. Once it's cooled and completely hardened, remove the candy from the tray and try your hand at the game.

Historically, these candies were sold in neighborhoods throughout South Korea, and was especially popular in dongs like Myeongdong. Made by heating sugar and baking soda, the candy is then flattened and a shape is imprinted using a mold, then it's left to harden. People would then try to eat the candy around the mold without breaking the shape. It was said that if one could successfully eat around the candy while retaining the shape, the customer would receive another dalgona candy for free. Clever candy eaters would use various tricks to successfully break the shapes, from carefully breaking the bits around the mold to using needles. In Squid Game, one of the main characters used one of the tricks seasoned dalgona eaters know, which is to melt the candy with your saliva rather than breaking or biting it, which could potentially destroy the shape.

All About Potatoes: 10 Best Potato’s Dishes In The World All About Potatoes: 10 Best Potato’s Dishes In The World

Potatoes have been a staple food in many country's cuisines, and bring health benefit, delicious flavours when eaten with other dishes. Here are the 10 ...

Classic Hong Kong Food Will Make You Wow Classic Hong Kong Food Will Make You Wow

Hong Kong is famous for food, and when you visit, you better be ready to eat.

6 Flavorful Indonesian Foods You can Make at Home 6 Flavorful Indonesian Foods You can Make at Home

Put these dishes on your Indonesia bucket list; you won’t have trouble finding them when you’re finally able to travel now.

Charlotte Pho
Phiên bản di động