Dalgona is sponge toffee, of which the main ingredients are sugar, baking soda and corn syrup.
Dalgona coffee, now sometimes known as quarantine coffee, is enjoying sudden popularity in and outside Korea. I am really surprised at how this (relatively) very local culture-specific retro food has become well known among foreigners.
As everyone has stayed home and opened his/her own home café, dalgona coffee has become one of the must-try items.
In a travel TV show aired January, Korean actor Jung Il-woo (“Moon Embracing the Sun”) traveled to Macau and tasted this “local” coffee in a hole-in-the-wall cafeteria, where a middle-aged owner in black sleeveless shirt stirred two spoons of coffee and sugar 400 times. The sticky whipped combination resulted in a dalgona-like shape, such that episode panelists in the studio all delightedly screamed, “Oh my, it looks like dalgona!”
Search counts of “dalgona coffee” in Google skyrocketed 1,800 percent in March and reached their peak on April 5, according to news reports. Click counts on YouTube about it increased 5,000 percent in April compared to January-March. The countries that searched for the word the most were the Philippines, followed by Singapore, Brunei and Mauritius. So here, throughout the quarantine, dalgona coffee represents imported Korean coffee.
Seoul Milk has launched a limited edition of “dalgona coffee milk” without one having to laboriously whip it 400 times. A café chain in Sweden launched dalgona coffee as part of its regular menu.
Dalgona is retro but has now become “newtro,” which is a lifestyle trend. But dalgona coffee, the coffee itself, was discovered in a corner of the city where, unaware, a Macau ajeossi quietly whipped coffee and sugar 400 times. —CONTRIBUTED