One of my favourite things to do in any new country I visit is to pop into the local convenience store or supermarket and pick up every delicious-looking new snack I can find. While I tend to opt for salty snacks, there’s no denying that there is a time and a place for candy too!
If you’re visiting Korea for the first time, or if you’ve lived there for a while and are looking for some new tastes to experience, these are some of the best Korean candies you will want to be on the lookout for. While they aren’t all for everybody, there’s sure to be something you will enjoy on this list.
The good news is that Korea has a very established local selection of snacks and sweets, and even if you try a new Korean candy every day, you’ll be able to enjoy for months before you even begin to question what to eat next.
But let’s say you don’t want to try every Korean candy under the sun. Where should you start? In this post, I will highlight some of my favourite candies and some synonymous with Korea (I’m looking at you, Pepero!).
While some of the older sweet treats on this list have been popular in Korea for hundreds of years, many candies have more recently been introduced. However, there’s no denying that each entry on this list is worth trying if you get the opportunity!
If you have any Korean candies you believe should be added to this list, let me know in the comments below! There is always room for more entries on this list, so I would love to hear what you believe deserves a spot!
Where to Buy Korean Candy
While there is no doubt that searching locally in Korea is the easiest method of finding Korean candy – not only can you browse more quickly, but there tend to be some varieties of candy that aren’t easily available overseas – there are a few ways you can find your favourite candies regardless of where you are in the world!
Of course, there are obvious answers – Amazon and Gmarket have a good selection of Korean candy, but they tend not to be the best choices. You’ll often find yourself purchasing different items from different vendors, which can quickly rack up shipping costs on top of making shopping very inconvenient.
Instead of using these large e-commerce websites, I recommend websites specialising in Korean goods. While you will likely pay more on a per-item basis, the costs come out cheaper in the long run because you will only need to worry about a single shipping fee.
That said, if you can find good sellers on Amazon or Gmarket who sell multiple candies/snacks that you want to try, there’s no reason not to shop on these sites. However, be warned that if you are ordering from multiple sellers, the costs will quickly add up, and you’ll pay far more than you would shopping from a website that offers one overall shipping fee.
Etsy?! What is Etsy doing here? I asked myself the same question initially. However, after browsing the Korean candy offerings on Etsy, I believe it’s one of the better sites for purchasing sweet treats from Korea. There are a range of different sellers stocking snack bundles, and while I wouldn’t recommend the snack box offerings (more on that soon), many sellers allow some form of customisation if you contact them.
For example, if you’re interested in trying a random variety of Korean candy, you can contact one of the sellers and request that your box comes stocked with sweet treats instead of savoury snacks. While some sellers may not be able to customise their offerings, I’ve had good experiences requesting changes with some of the more popular sellers.
Just Asian Food
Just Asian Food is an online supermarket dedicated to food from various Asian countries. While they don’t specialise in Korean candy, they have a good selection of Korean snacks, which include many sweet treats (many of which we will discuss in this article!). The best part about shopping on this website is that you don’t need to stick to just candy or Korean food. Instead, you can pick up various Asian foods and do all your shopping in one place!
It is worth noting that at any given time, quite a large selection of snacks on this website are out of stock. Luckily, the stock seems to vary every day, meaning you can check back later if the website is missing something you particularly want to try.
If you’re in the U.K., Korea Foods may be your best bet for sourcing Korean candy. While the name suggests this website is dedicated to Korean foods, there are a few Japanese snacks available, too, so it’s worth keeping in mind that you’ll want to double-check what you’re purchasing if you specifically want to try Korean candy. That said, they still have a decent collection of Korean treats!
The selection on Korea Foods is more limited than the websites discussed above, but the locality can make shopping here your best option if you happen to be in the U.K.
This isn’t one seller but rather a range of different offerings across the internet. But before that, what is a snack box? Well, recently, subscription boxes have become a massive trend worldwide. Subscription boxes are a service you can subscribe to (or purchase one-off) to have a random assortment of goods delivered straight to your door. While each box differs, some popular types of boxes are beauty boxes which are filled with cosmetics and snack boxes, which are filled with… You guessed it! Snacks.
If you’re feeling a bit more experimental (which I highly recommend! Give your tastebuds some exercise!), there are also Korean snack boxes that are fun to receive. While these boxes don’t focus exclusively on candy and rather will include a broader range of snacks, every box will have some candy inside.
This makes these boxes a great choice for anyone who wants to try Korean candy but isn’t entirely sure where to start. Each box is curated by a team of experts who choose a range of different flavours to ensure there is something for everyone. This makes them a fantastic place to start because you can try a little of everything and see what you like and what you’d prefer to avoid.
If you want to experiment with Korean candy, my snack box suggestions are SnackFever, Korea Box and SeoulBox. These boxes all have an excellent reputation, and I’ve tried each one myself and therefore feel confident recommending them. Of course, if you want to explore more options, there are a LOT! In fact, there are so many different boxes that I dedicated a whole post to the topic.
Best Korean Candy
I know it’s cliche at this point, but there wasn’t anything else I could start this list with. Pepero is such a famous candy in South Korea that it even has its own day to celebrate the stick-like candy – 11/11 (because it looks like 4 Pepero sticks).
So, what is Pepero? Well, if you’ve never heard of the candy before, it’s quite delectable. The base of the stick is a cookie, and this is dipped in one of a range of toppings. My favourite Pepero is cookie dipped in white chocolate with cookie pieces inside. While this might sound like a cookie overdose, it’s a delicious combination and my guilty pleasure.
If you prefer something a bit more exotic, there are many other flavours. For the fruit-lovers, you can find flavours like strawberry. If you like nuts, you’re also in luck, as there are flavours like chocolate hazelnut and chocolate peanut.
Since Pepero is such a famous candy, it’s easy to find everywhere. If you’re in Korea, you’ll find this at every convenience store and supermarket in the country. If you’re overseas, it’s very easy to source online.
To keep Pepero always fresh and exciting, limited-edition flavours are released from time to time. This is especially true as the 11th of November approaches when Pepero is heavily promoted nationwide.
2. Choco Pie
Is it candy? I wasn’t entirely sure on this one, but considering these are chocolate-covered biscuits containing marshmellow, I figured it counts. Marshmallows are candy, after all, right?
Choco Pies are also very famous in Korea, and you’ll find them everywhere that sells Pepero. In fact, they’re so easy to find that you’ll have difficulty not accidentally encountering them all over the country! But what makes this type of Korean candy so famous and sought-after?
Well, as the name suggests, Choco Pies are layered ‘pies’ with a marshmellow central layer which is sandwiched between two layers of biscuit. While it may not be a ‘pie’ in the traditional sense, it’s certainly a sweet treat worth trying.
There are a couple of different flavours of Choco Pie available, but these are primarily in different markets. For example, in Japan, you might be able to find the green tea Choco Pies. However, these aren’t the original and are hard to find in Korea.
3. My Chew
One of my personal favourites, My Chew are little rectangular Korean candies that come in either a wrapped stack (with around ten pieces) or a large bag with many more pieces. This candy is very famous, and it’s a childhood favourite of many university-aged Koreans (they were introduced in 2004).
While there are many My Chew flavours, they are all fruity, so these are perfect if you enjoy fruit-flavoured candy! I recommend peach flavour, but I know that many people enjoy the grape, strawberry, and apple flavours too!
Each candy is chewy and has an initial bit of bitterness. However, this quickly wears off, and the sweetness will take over before you know it. From here, you can enjoy the chewy snack and the fruity sweetness that comes with it.
Since My Chew is so famous, you can easily source this Korean candy online and in Korea. If you’re in Korea, visit any convenience store, and you’ll find the candy (usually in a few flavours, too!). Online, any shop selling Korean candy should stock them!
A few years ago, few people outside of Korea would’ve been able to recognise Dalgona by name. However, after the massive social media craze a few years ago, I would guess it’s now harder to find someone who doesn’t recognise this Korean candy.
A traditional candy originating in the Joseon Dynasty, this sugary, crunchy candy is a must-have if you visit Korea. While it’s also easy to make at home (and you can buy it, but I recommend making it instead), you’ll only get the true tasting experience from a street vendor in Korea.
If you’re in any semi-busy area of Seoul (or any other major city), you will regularly come across vendors on the side of the road selling Dalgona candy. Typically, these candies are very cheap, costing only a few thousand won.
Of course, half the fun of Dalgona is not the taste but the experience of watching it be made right in front of you. Not only can you see the creation process, but you can sometimes pick the shape you want your Korean candy to be formed into.
5. Malang Cow
If you’re looking for a unique flavour, the Malang milk-flavoured Korean candy is the place to start. While eating candy that tastes like milk might seem a bit odd – why would you want to candify milk? – there’s something addictive about this candy that makes me keep coming back.
Malang Cow has a few different flavours, but the two common ones are original (milk) and strawberry milk. While both are good, I always opt for the original flavour because it’s just such a fun and unique taste. In many ways, it reminds me of the exciting combination that is Milkis (milk-flavoured soda).
Malang Cow isn’t the sweetest candy out there, and this is yet another reason it’s easy to eat far more than you should. While it is candy and therefore inherently sweet, it’s not overwhelmingly sweet like many of the other candies on this list (looking at you, Dalgona).
Malang Cow is easy to find in Korea but isn’t as common as some of the more famous sweet treats such as My Chew. Therefore, while you might be able to find it in local Korean supermarkets, it might be challenging to find it online or in smaller towns and cities.
Hotteok is similar to Dalgona in that it is best enjoyed from a street vendor in Korea itself. However, even if you’re not in the country, you can find some ready-to-eat packaged versions that still taste quite good! While they’re not quite the authentic experience for this Korean candy, they’re a great alternative until you can visit!
Hotteok is a crispy deep-fried pancake with light bread on the outside with melted brown sugar and peanuts inside. The bread itself is sweet, but the true treat is when you bite into the bread, and the gooey sweetness erupts from within.
Now, I feel like it’s not an exaggeration to say that Hotteok is the most dangerous Korean candy on this list. Since this treat is best enjoyed warm (or hot), it’s all too easy to be tempted to bite into the bread before it’s cooled enough to eat. Trust me; I’ve been there.
Kopiko is small, hard candy with a distinct coffee taste. However, this is more than just flavouring – these Korean candies have a substantial amount of caffeine in them, making them great for a boost when you feel the need for energy throughout the day.
Before you start yelling at me – yes, I know Kopiko is originally not Korean. In fact, it’s not Korean at all. However, it’s featured in many Kdramas recently, and you’ll find it on the shelves of every convenience store and supermarket throughout the country. For this reason, and its place in contemporary Korean culture, I feel like it’s deserving of a place on this list.
Unlike many candies which combine flavours such as chocolate and coffee, Kopiko takes a more direct approach, and these candies have a strong coffee flavour. This makes sense, considering five candies have the same level of caffeine as a cup of coffee!
Coffee is a massive part of Korean culture, and while these treats didn’t originate in Korea, they’ve become a mainstay. Perhaps this is because Koreans love coffee, or perhaps it is because the candy is simply delicious… Who knows? But either way, they sure feel like Korean candy!
If you’ve lived in Korea for a while, you’ll know that grape is an incredibly popular flavour. Whether you are drinking soju, looking for some water, or would prefer to enjoy some candy, you’ll be able to find all of these in a white grape flavour.
Cheongpodo is the candy form of this grape craze. These individually-wrapped candies come in a large bag containing tens of the small, round treats. While this can seem wasteful, this Korean candy can be sticky, and the choice to individually wrap them was probably to prevent them from sticking together in the bag.
I won’t lie – I’m not the biggest fan of the white grape flavour that’s so easy to find in Korea (we can thank some bad experiences with grape soju for that!). However, I know a lot of people love the taste of these lollipop-like candies, so they deserve a place on this list!
One nice benefit of Cheongpodo is that since they are a candy you need to take your time to enjoy, you probably won’t find yourself having eaten the whole pack before you know it… Or, maybe you will? You’ll have to try them to find out!
9. Jadu (Plum) Candy
While fruit flavours are common among Korean candy, plum is a flavour that is somehow quite overlooked. While it’s true that plum isn’t a flavour I would normally associate with candy, I also don’t see why it’s often completely forgotten in the face of more ‘attractive’ flavours such as grape and strawberry.
Luckily, while it might be hard to find plum candy, there is one bastion of hope! Haitai’s Jadu (Plum) Candy is a hard candy that contains many of the best elements of real plums. While there is a slight note of bitterness, the sweet aftertaste quickly washes that away and leaves a pleasant taste in your mouth.
These candies are hard, and each can take ten minutes to eat. This makes them perfect for when you want a nice taste in your mouth but don’t want to overeat accidentally (which, let’s be honest, is all too easy when it comes to candy!).
Jadu Candy has been around for almost 50 years, meaning they are well-established in Korea and also very well-known. When you’re enjoying these Korean candies, you’re also experiencing a small element of Korean food culture!
10. Secom Dalcom
While sweet candy is great, there’s no denying that we sometimes get the itch for something a bit more intense. That’s where this favourite Korean candy comes in – Secom Dalcom is probably Korea’s most famous sour candy. You will regularly encounter it while browsing convenience stores in the country.
Similar to My Chew, you will find Secom Dalcom in sticks with 8-10 pieces or in larger bags with many more individually wrapped rectangular pieces. Whichever package you opt for, you’ll surely enjoy this Korean candy, provided you like sour!
Secom Dalcom comes in a range of flavours. While I haven’t tried them all, I recommend peach and grape. Peach is great if you want something a bit more mild (and with a sweeter aftertaste). Meanwhile, grape is good if you’re looking for something a bit more sour. However, in both cases, you’ll get a nice and sweet aftertaste.
Secom Dalcom is slightly harder to source than My Chew, but you shouldn’t have difficulty finding this overseas. Although I recommended against using Amazon for Korean candy, it’s super easy to find this candy on the site, and it’s worth checking out if you want to experiment with the flavours!
11. Ilkwang Peanut Candy
I may not be the biggest fan of peanut butter and peanuts themselves, but there’s a reason that Reese’s is so popular. If you’re among the crowd of people who love peanut butter, you’re in luck! Korea has some candy made just for you.
Ilkwang Peanut Candy are small, individually wrapped, hard candies which are made with 30% peanut butter. While you will definitely notice the peanut taste, it isn’t overwhelming like some peanut treats. Rather, the peanut is complimented by the smooth taste of caramel.
If you are fond of peanuts or other peanut-flavoured candy, you will likely fall in love with this Korean candy. While it’s a different experience from its similar-tasting counterparts from other countries, it has the distinct peanut taste which we seek!
Ilkwang Peanut Candy isn’t exactly obscure or hard to find, but since it’s a more niche candy, you may have some trouble finding it online. Luckily, it’s easy to find in Korea, and while some convenience stores may not stock it, nearly every supermarket will!