I Made The South Korean Candy From "Squid Game", And Even As Someone Who Cooks For A Living, It Nearly Took Me (And My Kitchen) Out Completely

    Game on.

    If you're on TikTok, I'm betting you've probably seen the ultra-popular Dalgona Candy Challenge, which has burst onto FYPs everywhere as a result of Netflix's latest mega-hit: Squid Game.

    Man walking down aisle in Squid Game with many contestants on either side

    Like each challenge in Squid Game, this specific one stems from a South Korean childhood game involving dalgona candy (or ppopgi): a sweet, crackly, caramel-adjacent street food similar to honeycomb. Street vendors in South Korea churn out these treats at lightning speed — commonly made in a metal ladle and stirred with a chopstick — and some will even reward lucky customers with a free dalgona if they can successfully remove the stamped shape from the candy itself.

    Person holding up two wrapped dalgona candies on lollipop sticks

    If you haven't seen Squid Game yet, here's some additional context (without any major spoilers). Just like with ppopgi IRL, the contestants in the series are tasked with carving varying shapes out of tinned dalgona candy using only a sewing needle. But...very unlike the game that inspired this challenge, should the Squid Game contestants fail, they're killed. Fun!

    Sewing needle inside a metal tin, containing a piece of dalgona candy with an umbrella shape etched inside

    It didn't take long for every human being on TikTok to get in on the action, and thus, the Dalgona Candy Challenge went absolutely viral. Granted, the stakes are significantly lower, but the content is...chef's kiss. Case in point: this person, who went ABOVE and beyond in every single way. 11/10.

    And this person, who did not! (But honestly, I've watched this 16 times already so, kudos to them.)

    As a food writer by day and recipe developer by night, it's physically impossible for me not to try out each and every viral TikTok food...so, I decided to go on my own dalgona candy journey. Folks, let me just say, the real "challenge" is successfully making one of these bad boys without A) setting off every smoke detector in your home, B) burning yourself, or C) making a dalgona candy that looks nothing short of radioactive. Exhibit A 👇

    Bubbly, burnt dalgona candy that sort of looks like an owl, but not really, with caption "wtf is this"

    And I know! You may be asking: but WHY would I want to make this? It looks and sounds like a nightmare. And my answer is: 1) I'm 99.9% sure you have the ingredients already: sugar and baking soda. That's it! 2) If you get it right, the candy is legitimately delicious — if perfectly-toasted marshmallows and honeycomb had a baby, this would be it. 3) If you don't do it, you DIE!! (I kid.)

    1. Preheating your cooking vessel is crucial.

    stainless steel measuring cup placed over the flame on a stove

    2. For the love of god, don't overdo it on the baking soda.

    caramel in a measuring cup after baking soda is added to it; frothy and golden brown

    3. Unless you have magical non-stick powers, wait before stamping out your design.

    My fingers are crossed that you're feeling more prepared now than you would have been after watching #DalgonaCandy TikTok videos of...varying success. So, I'll go ahead and leave you with my very, very detailed recipe below. Fact: unless you're superhuman, you're not gonna get this right the first time. The fun is in learning as you go and experimenting along the way. (Same with life, right?)

    What You Need | Ingredients & Equipment:

    Cutting board with parchment paper, measuring cup, measuring spoon, cookie cutter, and granulated sugar

    Instructions | How To Make Dalgona Candy:

    If you make this, LMK in the comments! (Show me all those beautiful dalgona candies 😍)