Sweeter than Sugar – Dalgona

Lee Sooyeon

Have you ever heard of ‘Dalgona’? ‘Dalgona’ refers to a Korean street snack made from brown sugar and baking soda. It was a very popular snack in the past because of its sweetness and cheap price. Nowadays, Dalgona is taking its fame back. We can easily find Dalgona snacks in the convenience stores, cafeterias, and from other dessert shops. Convenience stores are enjoying a sharp rise in dessert sales as consumers try to soothe the COVID-19 blues with the sweet treats such as Dalgona. Korea’s leading convenience store CU has introduced Dalgona treat products too. The ‘Dalgona coffee challenge’ – making a DIY Dalgona latte with a coffe foam on top has been a huge boom among online media users, including those overseas. The trend apparently started earlier this year when South Korean actor Jung Il-woo made it on TV. On TikTok and YouTube, tutorials for the drink have since been viewed millions of times, while a search on Instagram for dalgona coffee results in more than 237,000 results for the beverage.

Dalgona is known to be first started in Busan, in the 1960s. Elementary school students made Dalgonas themselves in the Korean Cartoon bookstores (Man-hwa-bang). There were also Dalgona sellers in front of the schools, selling each at a price of about 100KRW. The name ‘달고나(Dalogna)’ originated from the word ‘달구나(sweet)’, meaning that it is ‘설탕보다 달구나(sweeter than the sugar)’. Dalgona is now a trending treat, but for some it is also a snack that can bring past memories.

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