Customers were racing to Claude & Claudette depanneur in Saint-Henri on Saturday morning to buy the internet’s latest food trend, dalgona. One hour after opening, the Korean candy, selling for $1.99, was almost sold out.
“I posted on Instagram and Facebook, it just blew up,” said Claude & Claudette depanneur owner Robert Kim, who admitted that he didn’t expect the response.
“It’s amazing,” he said.
Kim and his wife made a dozen to sell after binge-watching Squid Game on Netflix.
The Korean-language series is a violent-thriller in which an indebted group of people are tricked to compete in classic children’s games with a deadly twist. In the third episode, participants are tasked with cutting shapes out of dalgona.
Kim said the streaming sensation has brought back cherished childhood memories of growing up in South Korea — but without the deadly twist.
He told Global News that he used to eat dalgona in front of his elementary school. They then would play the game with dalgona “like an episode.”
The nostalgic Korean street food has even turned into a trending TikTok challenge. Users combine sugar and baking soda to make dalgona, then attempt to cut out the shape using a sewing needle. Kim describes the two-ingredient treat as crunchy, sweet and unique.
“There’s nothing like that here,” said Kim.
According to Netflix, Squid Game is on track to be its most-watched original series. University of Toronto associate professor of East Asian popular cultures, Michelle Cho, said the influence of the streaming giant cannot be understated.
“There’s a kind of synergistic effect in the way that South Korean media and popular culture are becoming just more popular with audiences in Canada,” said Cho.
She added that Squid Game is the latest entry in a wave of Korean culture, including K-beauty and Korean food, that’s having a moment in North America.
Kim has owned depanneur Claude & Claudette for 26 years. He only recently started stocking shelves with Korean products including his wife’s homemade kimchi. He says, like the dalgona, which he will be making again, customers can’t get enough of it.
“It’s getting so popular, I’m so proud to be Korean-Canadian,” said Kim.