You’re probably familiar with dalgona candy, Korea’s toffee-flavored sugar candy that became extremely popular due to Netflix’s popular show Squid Games. But the Asian nation has boatloads of other sweet (and sour) treats to offer.
South Korea is a treasure trove of quirky, delicious treats, and with so many options to choose from, I’ve taken the time to curate the best Korean candies. There’s no need to fly to Korea to sample these goodies, either.
Many of them can be found online through Amazon or your local Korean grocery store (like H Mart), so there’s no need to just window shop, either. Just note that even if your Korean candy seems close to expiration or is already expired, Korean expiration dates actually read day / month / year (European style).
- Best Korean Candy Overall
- Best Korean Chocolate Candies
- Best Korean Gummies
- Best Korean Gum & Taffy
- Best Traditional Korean Candies
Best Korean Candy Overall
Kopiko (Coffee Candy)
Though Kopiko isn’t made in Korea, it makes the list nonetheless due to its popularity in Korea, which itself is pretty obsessed with coffee. Indonesian coffee confectionery brand Kopiko has been known for its coffee-flavored candy since time immemorial.
With their wide global distribution, they’ve gained even greater popularity through recent features in K-dramas such as Vincenzo and Hometown Cha cha. Kopiko Coffee candy is a delightful Korean candy with a good caffeine kick from premium Javanese coffee.
With a taste, one can expect the velvety sweetness that’s familiar from drinking instant coffee. The rectangular version that comes in a blister pack (instead of being wrapped per piece) is easier to open and has a stronger coffee taste, but it’s a bit more expensive.
So if this will be your first time to try coffee candy, trust us, Kopiko is THE coffee candy for caffeine kick or for a sweet mid-afternoon perk.
Lotte Malang Cow Milk Candy
Malang‘ means ‘soft ‘in Korean, and if you haven’t tried this candy, it certainly lives up to its name. This chewy Korean candy comes in strawberry and plain milk flavors. While the texture is somewhere between a marshmallow and a caramel, expect a creamy milky taste that melts-in-your-mouth.
Fluffy, dense, and delightfully chewy, this is an easy favorite too. There’s a good balance between not-too-sweet with a real milk flavor. Plus it comes in a brightly-colored packaging with the cutest cow.
Lotte Green Grape Hard Candy
Average Price: $7 per pack
Where to Buy: Amazon, H Mart
Grape candy is ubiquitous in Korea, both because Korean grapes are so sweet and because some genius thought of putting it in soju. The Lotte green grape candy is a sweet hard candy with 12% green grape juice in it, lending real fruit flavor.
Each candy is shaped like a ball, making it fun to roll around in your mouth, which also explains why kids can eat so many of them.
Shooting Stars was the most recent K Drama to feature this combination: just drop a grape candy ball into a shot glass semi-filled with chilled soju, and it instantly sweetens it while keeping the alcohol percentage high.
Best Korean Chocolate Candies
We‘re obviously privy to chocolate, as this portion of the list is a bit more extensive than the rest. But Korean chocolate isn’t to be trifled with; it’s rich, velvety, and they take their cacao percentage seriously.
Lotte Binch is one of my favorite chocolate flavored Korean snacks. It’s part milk chocolate, part biscuit (like a digestive cookie). The chocolate is the creamy, milky sweet chocolate that you may be familiar with, found in many South Korean chocolate products.
The biscuit is crunchy and slightly sweet, complementing the velvety milk chocolate well. Try this South Korean chocolate treat and you may be surprised by how quickly an entire box will go by.
Lotte Dream Cacao
Average Price: $4-6 per container
Where to Buy: Amazon, Style Korean
Lotte’s Dream Cacao is a selection of dark chocolate cubes with varying cacao contents. These goodies melt in your mouth, and the strong cacao flavor is explosive, leaving a mildly bitter yet pleasant aftertaste.
The series ranges from 55%-82% cacao content. The higher the cacao percentage, the richer they are in polyphenols, which are an active ingredient that benefits your health, prevent oxidation, and boost immunity.
It’s no wonder these South Korean chocolate candies are all the rage. Healthy, delicious, and we can’t seem to stop laughing from thinking of everyone sneaking pieces from Jun Wan’s stash.
The original Pepero is a thin pretzel stick coated with velvety milk chocolate, but these days there are many more varieties – chunky and flavored – strawberry, green tea, and etc. This popular snack is given to friends, family, colleagues, classmates, and special people on a commercial holiday called Pepero Day (every November 11th in Korea).
Lotte ABC Chocolate
Average Price: $6-10 a bag
Where to Buy: Amazon
Who can resist a bag of individually-wrapped creamy milk chocolates with letters on them? Lotte milk chocolates are well-known for their velvety smooth texture and mild chocolate flavor.
This is a fun treat to include in party favors, cake decorations, or as a sweet surprise for friends and family. Consider using these chocolate blocks to spell out friends’ names along with a short message.
There’s also a variation that has two layers – a top layer with smooth semi-sweet chocolate that looks like keyboard letters, while the bottom part is a cacao cookie.
Orion and Lotte Choco Pies
Choco Pies are possibly the most popular Korean snack. They’re commonly enjoyed during special occasions (sometimes eaten in lieu of a birthday cake) and given as gifts (especially when sending care packages to South Korean men who’ve enlisted in the military).
Each one consists of two small round layers of soft vanilla cake with a fluffy marshmallow filling, coated with rich chocolate. This cakey delight can be eaten as a snack or dessert.
Its global appeal has many discussing Orion and Lotte choco pies, and which one is better. Sometimes the former wins because it’s more chocolatey, while the latter is also widely preferred because it’s less sweet. Whatever your preference, we encourage you to try this South Korean chocolate snack for yourself.
Best Korean Gummies
Haitai Grape Jelly Candy
South Korean jelly candies and gummies are best. This is the second grape flavored candy that’s made our list – and arguably, grape is one of the most popular fruits in Korea.
Grape candy in Korea is different from in other countries, as its flavor is specific to Korean grapes. Korean grapes are well-known to have sweet and sour notes. This is a delightful grape-flavored candy that’s chewy and soft, with an amazing burst of sweet and sour complexity.
Haitai has a ton of other flavors of this jelly candy that you can try, too: black sugar, blueberry, cappuccino, cinnamon, ginger, ginseng, melon, orange, red ginseng black candy, and Vitamin C.
Korean Red Ginseng Candy
A widely known Korean candy is red ginseng candy. It has a distinct taste that may not be for everyone, but we’re including it on the list for its functional benefits.
Korean red ginseng candy typically has an earthy, deep ginseng flavor with a grassy aroma. If you’re new to trying ginseng it may seem oddly bitter at first, but the flavor of the candy sweetens in your mouth as time goes on, offering an overall pleasant experience.
Try this candy to soothe a scratchy throat and give you an energy boost. Red ginseng has been used for improving overall health, because it’s known to strengthen the immune system, enhance brain function, and help fight off stress and various diseases.
Lotte Yogurt Jelly
Average Price: $3 per bag
Where to Buy: H Mart, Amazon, H Mart, Rocket Cart
Yogurt jelly candies are a big thing in Korea. If you’re familiar with the taste of the popular Hanguk yogurt drinks, these jelly candies taste exactly like that. They’re both delicious and packed with good probiotics.
The plain flavor tastes great, perfectly tart and tangy with a hint of sweetness, but there are other flavors available as well, like strawberry and peach. It’s definitely one of the best South Korean candies to try. Enjoy the sweet & sour pull with every lip-smacking chomp.
Best Korean Gum & Taffy
Lotte Xylitol Gum
Average Price: $4-7 a container
Where to Buy: H Mart, Amazon, H Mart, Umami Cart
According to this survey, the best-selling gum in South Korea is Lotte Xylitol Hyvaa. Chewing gum is well-known to help improve your breath, and Lotte’s approach to oral health has strengthened its gum formulation to maintain healthy gums and help prevent cavities.
Made with a lower-calorie sugar substitute, this gum comes in green tea, strawberry, and mint flavors. You’ll enjoy this sugar-free gum for its good flavor and large containers.
Yeot (엿, Korean Taffy)
Average Price: $5-10 a bag
Where to Buy: Amazon, Seoul Mills
Yeot is a traditional Korean confection made from a starchy base like grains – rice, glutinous rice, sorghum, corn, sweet potatoes, or mixed grains. After that, it’s steamed, fermented with barley malt, and boiled until liquified.
This particular hangwa (traditional Korean confectionery) can be made as a syrup, taffy, or candy in either liquid or solid form. Depending on the boiling time, the yeot can become a syrup (jocheong) that can be used for cooking or making other hangwa, or it can solidify and be stretched into a taffy-like substance when it cools.
Although it can be eaten on its own, many local varieties involve folding ingredients like sesame seeds, pumpkin, walnuts, and so on into the yeot as it cools.
Yeot is a staple of care packages prepared by loved ones for students before big exams, but it can also be offensive if someone gives you yeot. However, in Korean when someone says “eat yeot,” it could also mean “eat sh*t” or “bullsh*t”.
Best Traditional Korean Candies
Dasik (다식, Korean Tea Cookies)
Average Price: $7
Where to Buy: Gmarket
Dasik are traditional Korean tea cookies that don’t require baking. They were originally served with tea and only to royalty and nobility in the 17th century. Contemporarily, this sweet snack is also traditionally made for the Lunar New Year and Korean ancestral memorial services.
These beautifully etched, gluten-free and vegan cookies are made with natural ingredients such as grains, beans, sesame seeds, chestnuts, pine pollen, and many more. The ingredients are each finely ground and kneaded before being combined with honey to make the dough.
The tea-sized cookies are then pressed into small wooden intricately-designed molds. The combination of grains and seeds with rice syrup or honey gives them a delicate sweet nutty flavor.
Ppopgi (뽑기 or Dalgona Candy)
Average Price: $2-4 each
Where to Buy: Amazon, local bakeries such as Shilla Bakery in Northern VA, or online shops like New Universe Food or H Mart
Dalgona candy, also known as ppopgi, is a traditional Korean candy made with sugar and baking soda. It’s sweet with a bitter, nutty flavor profile. It has a light and airy honeycomb toffee-like texture inside with a brittle exterior.
Popularized by Netflix’s Squid Games and a Tik Tok sensation, this candy is one that you should try whether it’s for its sweet taste, its exciting game component, or just to make it yourself.