Korean snacks become a huge success after hit series

Korean snacks become a huge success after hit series

A scene from Squid Game shows contestants competing for Dalgona Korean candy. (RSJ, Bashair Ali)

In Netflix’s Squid Game, traditional South Korean sweet makers have been flooded with orders.

The streaming platform’s most popular show with over 100 million viewers showcases a team of participants who play children’s games in hopes of winning 45.6 billion won ($47 million).

One challenge involves the contestants cutting outlines of figures from an airy, thin, brittle sweet by the name dalgona. Failing to pass the task would result in death.

The snack was manufactured on location by Dalgona experts hired by Hwang and Chae Kyung-sun for the show.

Over three days of filming, Lim Chang-Joo and Jung Jung-soon made an estimated 300 to 400 dalgonas. 

They are now one of the top attractions in Seoul’s theatre district, thanks to the humble roadside stall they’ve been running since 1997. 

Within moments of the stall opening, orders for the 2,000-won ($2.10) dalgona start pouring in. It is not uncommon for customers to wait for hours just to get their hands on their Squid Game-themed treat. 

​​It only takes 90 seconds for Lim to make the sugary treat depending on the shape requested by the customer.

“I never imagined it would become this popular,” said Lim.

He adds that he’s overjoyed that the success of his business has skyrocketed. 

Lim and Jung have always dreamed of being financially secure. They closed their tailoring business during the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and took a chance on their dalgona business with just 31 dollars.

During the post-war poverty of South Korea’s 1960s, the dalgona emerged.

At that time, desserts weren’t readily available. Instead, many vendors set up stalls near schools in order to provide children with more affordable treats.

The South Korean economy may be the 12th largest in the world, but the dalgona is still an integral part of Korean culture.

November 9, 2021

About Author

bashair.ali@ryerson.ca Bashair Ali is a second-year student attending Ryerson University in the journalism program. She enjoys reading, writing and talking with others. Journalism has always been a passion of hers, and she hopes to build a career with her newfound skills.