International viewers of the Netflix’s series ‘Squid Game’ call Korean nostalgic treat dalgona a “Korean hokey pokey” or “honeycomb toffee.” With Squid Game becoming a global sensation, dalgona has become a new form entertainment around the world.
According to online retailer G-Market on Monday, the sales of dalgona kit has increased 270 percent compared to the same period of last month, for about two weeks from Sept. 17, when the Korean series was released on Netflix. On international e-commerce sites, such as Amazon and eBay, dalgona kits are being sold with screenshots of Squid Game in the description section. The kits are being sold at around \20,000 or \40,000 ($22-$36), up to eight times the domestic price, which ranges from \5,000 to \10,000. To international customers, dalgona comes across as a unique Korean treat.
It appears making dalgona has become something of a trendy game. There are about 280,000 posts on dalgona on Instagram. International fans are sharing videos of themselves making dalgona on their social media. A pop-up store for Squid Game opened for two days in Paris, France was crowded with fans, who came to experience making dalgona and a game of ddakji.
The effect of the recent Squid Game craze was also evident in Korea. According to the convenient chain CU, the sales of sugar, which is the main ingredient of dalgona, surged 45 percent from Sept. 17 to Sept. 30 from the previous two weeks. Street vendors selling dalgona have also enjoyed a rise in sales. Some 30 people lined up in front of a dalgona shot near Hyehwa station in Seoul. “I’ve never seen dalgona vendors competitively selling the candy,” an internet user wrote on his social media. “This is also the first time I’ve seen dalgona candies sold out at “Aunt’s ppopgi” run by an old lady in Myeongdong.”
The reason foods in movies and dramas are gaining popularity is because foods stimulate synesthesia, experts say. “Viewers tend to imitate the experiences of the protagonist in order to satisfy their desire to feel connected to the characters in their favorite movies and series,” said Moon Jeong-hoon, professor of agricultural economics and sociology at Seoul National University. “Among them, foods are perfect in maximizing experiences since they use all five human senses, unlike automobiles and fashion.”
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