Heather Kim opened O’Cafe in Novi in spring 2021, selling coffee, pastries, and cakes commonly found in South Korea.
Given the success of the Netflix drama “Squid Game,” set in her home country, adding dalgona to the menu was a no-brainer. Kim already had been using the candy in her dalgona latte and in the dalgona boba latte before the drama was released.
The brittle candy, which was popular in schoolyards and street corners in the 1970s and ‘80s in Korea, has taken on a new life beyond east Asia, thanks to episode 3 of “Squid Game.” Back in the day, candy makers melted sugar and added a froth with a pinch of baking soda to make dalgona. They then pushed shapes like a triangle, square, circle, umbrella, or star into the center of the mixture. If kids could remove the stamped shape using a needle without breaking the brittle candy, they won a free treat.
Although the two-ingredient recipe itself is not uniquely Korean, the stamping—and the distinct shapes and game you see in Squid Game — is.
O’Cafe customers who can successfully remove their shape from their candy — which sells for $2.99 — without breaking it can post it on Instagram and get a free coffee, Kim said.
While customers have come in asking for dalgona, croffles, that trendy golden hybrid of croissant and truffles, are the biggest draw here. Another snack from Seoul, croffles haven’t quite reached trend status here as they have in New York. At O’Cafe, croffles come in original, mochi, and cream cheese flavors.
O’Cafe is at 41467 W. 10 Mile Rd. in Novi; website