This article was originally published in Taste of Home Magazine.
Dalgona Candy: How to Make This Popular Korean Treat, October 27, 2021
As a child in Seoul in the early 1960s, my mother was the local ppopgi ajusshi‘s sworn enemy.
With a small charcoal burner and single griddle, the ppopgi ajusshi was a street vendor who sold ppopgi candy (now known as dalgona candy). He would caramelize sugar in a soup ladle, pour it onto a griddle, flatten it and stamp a fun shape in the candy while it was hot. For a few cents, children could buy one candy, and if they could poke out the shape without breaking it, the next one would be free.
The ppopgi ajusshi happened to set up shop right next to my mother’s house, and—unusually small and dexterous at six years old—she would squat there for hours, poking out the shape and winning a free treat, one after the other. She was so successful at winning free candy, the ppopgi ajusshi begged my grandmother to stop letting my mother come to his stall. He even moved around the neighborhood to avoid my mother, and then brainstormed harder shapes when she found him!
My mother’s face still lights up when she reminisces about ppopgi. She’s amused to hear people all over the world are now experiencing the delight and satisfaction of successfully poking out the shape for the first time. In honor of its newfound popularity, Mama Park and I decided to try making dalgona candy together in my parents’ New York City kitchen. I learned all about the confection and a bit of Korean history—and we got to savor the toasty, sweet nostalgia together.
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