Dalgona (달고나) or ppopgi (뽑기) is a Korean candy made with melted sugar and baking soda. It was a popular street snack in the 1970s and 1980s, and is still eaten as a retro food. It has a different name for each region. When a pinch of baking soda is mixed into melted sugar, the thermal decomposition of the baking soda releases carbon dioxide, which makes the liquidized sugar puff up, and it becomes a light and crunchy candy once cooled and hardened. Typically, the creamy beige liquid is poured on a flat surface, pressed flat, and stamped with a patterned mold. Eaters try to trim their way around the outline or picture on the snack without breaking the picture. If the trimming is completed successfully without breaking the candy, the consumer receives another free dalgona.
Dalgona was a significant element of the Netflix series Squid Game, leading to a revival of Dalgona’s popularity in South Korea. Sales for the candy have doubled for street vendors. People have also taken to social media to make their own candy at home as a challenge.
Modern cafes in Korea serve novel beverages where dalgona-flavoured coffee cream is heaped on top of iced tea or coffee (See: Dalgona coffee), and pastries such as scones. Some cafes also used dalgona to launch desserts such as bingsu (ice dessert) and souffle.