Dalgona Candy (Korean Honeycomb Toffee) is the candy in Squid Game that has become the latest challenge on the internet!
Made famous by the Netflix series, Dalgona candy is a traditional Korean candy that is easy to make at home to enjoy and play with. In the show, Squid Game, players are seen trying to carve out shapes from the honeycomb toffee candy without breaking it or risk their lives if they lose.
Take part in the fun squid game cookie trend that has social media going crazy by making your own DIY traditional Korean candy out of only two ingredients.
What is Dalgona Candy?
Dalgona candy is made from sugar and baking soda. The old fashioned Korean sweet has a hard honeycomb toffee-like texture. Street vendors will prepare it using a soup ladle and make this into a round cookie with a shape in the middle. The shape in the centre is usually a circle, star, triangle or umbrella.
Dalgona candy is also called Korean honeycomb toffee, Ppopgi or is simply known as Dalgona.
What is the Dalgona game?
In the Dalgona game, players have to carve out shapes from a Korean honeycomb cookie that is called Dalgona candy. In Korea, the Dalgona game is traditionally known as Ppopgi.
Ppopgi which means ‘to pick’ was a very popular game in Korea during the 1960s and 1970s. This traditional Korean candy was sold by street vendors, mainly outside schools. Children would take up the challenge not to break the central shape.
Children would often use a needle or toothpick to pick out the central shape. Some vendors would even give out a second honeycomb toffee if the children were successful!
Fans of the Netflix show Squid Game may know this sweet treat simply as the Squid Game Candy.
In episode 3 of Squid Game, titled The Man with The Umbrella, we see this children's game taking a twisted turn. If players fail to remove the indented shape they will lose the round and die.
Due to the show's popularity, the old school Korean candy has now become the Dalgona candy challenge or Squid Game cookie trend challenge on Tiktok! Fans of the show are challenging themselves to remove the indented shape to see how difficult the game really is and also whether they would survive in Squid Game.
Ppopgi vs dalgona
Ppopgi is the name of the game that uses Dalgona candy. The word Ppopgi means to pick in Korean, meanwhile, Dalgona means sweet.
In the past there was Ppopgi and Dalgona were two different types of traditional Korean candy. Ppopgi was made with white sugar and Dalgona was made with glucose solid. However, now the terms are used interchangeably and you will find the treat is more commonly made with white sugar.
Dalgona Candy Calories
Dalgona candy has roughly 70 calories as it is only made with sugar and baking soda.
To make this old fashioned Korean sweet you can buy a Korean honeycomb toffee making kit that comes with a measured ladle, press and some fun moulds to use as your centre shape.
However, you can also utilise some tools lying around your house.
This will be what you will use to cook the sugar and mix the baking soda together. Try and use a cheap one as it will be exposed directly to the heat.
This will be used to stir the mixture. You can also use wooden sticks or popsicle sticks instead.
You will pour the honeycomb toffee mixture onto this. Using a Silicone mat will help to get the sweet off once it’s cooled.
Similar to a burger press, a Hotteok Press is a tool you can use to press down the honeycomb toffee mixture to get an even flat surface.
Use any cookie cutter pattern you like but bear in mind that a simple pattern will make the game easier. Make sure to pick cookie cutters that just fit within the centre of your Korean sweet. If you want to reenact the game in Squid Game make sure to get the umbrella, triangle, circle and star cookie cutters.
There are only two ingredients you will need to make this traditional Korean sweet. Sugar and baking soda are all you need.
For the sugar make sure you use fine granulated sugar so it is easier to melt in the cooking process. You can choose from using white or brown sugar. However, traditionally it is made using white sugar.
For the baking soda, you will only need a pinch of it. Important to note, you can’t substitute with baking powder.
How to make Dalgona candy
You can make this delicious old school Korean candy in less than 5 minutes. We’ll go through the detailed measurements and steps in our recipe below but here are the basic 5 steps.
- Caramelise the sugar.
- Add the baking soda and mix well.
- Pour the mixture onto a silicone mat.
- Use a press to make sure it has a flat even surface.
- Use a cookie cutter to add a shape in the centre. Leave it to cool and enjoy!
When you are caramelising the sugar, make sure to use a medium to low heat to avoid burning the sugar. Patience is key! When it is ready, the sugar should have a light brown colour.
When you’re ready to add the baking soda, remove the ladle from the direct heat source to stop it from cooking any faster.
Use the baking soda sparingly until you have formed a good mixture and consistency. Too much baking soda can make your Ppopgi bitter and make cleaning up later harder too as the mixture might stick to the ladle and other surfaces.
When you are using a cookie cutter to add an indented shape in the centre, press down gently to make the game harder. On the flip side, the deeper the indent, the easier it will be to remove the shape in the centre!
If you’re making a large amount of this, make sure to run the ladle under hot water after each time. This will help to remove the sugar residue.
A lot of people find it difficult to use a cookie-cutter without it sticking to the Dalgona candy. In order to stop this from happening, you can use some oil around the cookie cutter before making your shape.
How to enjoy
You can eat this old school Korean candy by eating it by itself or with milk. However, you can also break it into small pieces and serve over ice cream or a cup of Dalgona coffee.
Alternatively, the most popular way to enjoy Dalgona candy is to play the Ppopgi game. Try and remove the indented shape without breaking it!
How to Win at Ppopgi
Here are some tips to win at the popular Dalgona candy challenge that's trending on Tiktok.
Wet your toothpick or needle. This is a trick we see the contestants in Squid Game adopting. It works because it will help you get a more precise pick at the Dalgona candy without breaking around it. However, if you're under a time constraint this might not work as well.
Heating your toothpick or needle can get you a precise pick too but a lot of people will think this is cheating!
Lick the traditional Korean candy just like how the protagonist does in the Netflix series, Squid Game! This will help to remove the shape in the centre. This is because the surrounding area of the indented shape is thinner than the rest of the cookie!
To make the shape easier to remove, you can also press down harder and make a stronger indent when making the ppopgi itself.
Dalgona Candy Challenge | Ppopgi From Squid Game
- 1½ tablespoon sugar
- 1 pinch baking soda (1/16 teaspoon)
- Add the sugar into your ladle and place over medium to low heat. Stir until it is entirely melted.
- Add the pinch of baking soda into the melted sugar and mix until fully incorporated.
- Pour the honeycomb mixture onto a silicone mat or parchment paper.
- Use a press to gently flatten the mixture so that it has a flat and even surface.
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and are only rough estimations.
If you're looking for a good video to learn how to make this traditional Korean candy, then check out this video by FoodieBoy! Learn from the street vendors who sell this classic sweet and master it here.
Looking for more Korean treats? Try out Sotteok-Sotteok, a delicious Korean street food!