How K-Food Dalgona came about

What I’d like to introduce in this post is dalgona, which, contrary to what many believe, is completely different from dalgona coffee.

I like to making dalgona with my family. As a Korean living in Singapore, I like to feel close to home now and then. We even bought a dalgona making set the last time we went back to South Korea.

It looks like this:

It turned out like this: (success!)

What is Dalgona?

It’s a caramel kind of a sweet, a street food (made of sugar and baking soda) that started selling in South Korea in the 1950s. It’s still sold in shops and along streets in many parts of the country.

What’s up with the name?

Word has it that when people first tasted this snack, they remarked, “Dalguna”, which literally means “It is sweet”- and that led to the street food being called “Dalgona”.

This sweet treat is called different names in different parts of the country. Popular versions of it are “dalgona”, “ddong gwaja” (literally: poop snack) and “bbobggi”.

How did dalgona come about?

South Korea in the 1950s wasn’t exactly a developed country. Unsurprisingly, its snack/food industry was almost non-existent. Dalgona came about first as almost a luxury snack when it was first created in the 1950s. Back then, sugar was very expensive for the common people.

Two types of dalgona shops came about. Some shops which sold pre-made dalgona. Others allowed customers to make and buy their own dalgona on the spot.

Was Dalgona always popular?

By the time the Korean War had ended and South Korea was entering a period of stability, dalgona was starting to be viewed as a “불량식품”, which literally means “bad food”.

Love for dalgona was only rekindled in the country when a “new-tro” (retro + new) products became a trend amongst the young and old who were eager to buy nostalgic food like dalgona.

How is Dalgona made?

  1. Put sugar into ladle and stir it with a chopstick/stick over a stove fire.
  2. When the sugar turns yellow and sticky, add baking soda and stir. (Too much of baking soda and your mixture will turn out bitter)
  3. Pour the mixture onto parchment paper.
  4. Before the liquid mixture hardens, press a metal shape (any shape; popular ones come in the form of a heart, star, Christmas tree, fish, etc.) onto it.
  5. Wait for the mixture to harden.
  6. Enjoy 🙂
You can start from 1:36
Celebrities make dalgona too

Is dalgona the same thing as dalgona coffee?

They are two completely different products.

Dalgona is made of sugar, milk and instant coffee. The name came about when on a TV show, Jung Il Woo, a South Korean actor, ordered a coffee in Macau and one of the commentators remarked that it was like dalgona candy.

What I think about dalgona

It’s not exactly the healthiest snack, but it’s sweet & easy to make. If you’re a bored at home, give dalgona making a try.

Personally, I prefer pouring the mixture onto a plate rather than onto parchment paper. I almost ended up eating parchment paper as a side dish the last time I used it.

If you’re wearing braces, I would suggest you don’t try cracking it in your mouth. That might cost you quite a sum the next time you visit the dentist 🙂

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