Tag Archives: quarantine

Dalgonaa Coffee

Original Script: 달고나커피

Main Piece:

The following is transcribed from a conversation between the informant and the interviewer. It was conducted in Korean, and was since translated.

Informant: Dalgona coffee is a new viral recipe. Dalgona is the name of popular street candy in Korea, and the coffee is named after that because of the similar taste and color to the candy. So the recipe was first made in Korea, but you see people everywhere make the thing now.

Interviewer: Can you describe the recipe?

Informant: You mix sugar and instant coffee power, about the same ratio. You add a spoon of hot water, and blend everything. This is the key point, you have to like, really mix it. Some say it’s about 400 whips, but it’s more like 4000 if you’re using no electric utensils. Anyways after you mix it for like 10 fish minutes, the mixture’s gonna be really thick and have this beige color, which is the dalgona color. You pour a glass of milk, and drop that mixture on top. You mix the two and drink it.

Interviewer: Where did this recipe originate?

Informant: It wasn’t a thing until like, this year, once the stay at home order started. Koreans were just bored, and was looking for something to do I guess. It’s kind of the perfect thing to make in quarantine. This recipe requires a lot of manual labor, that’s the kind of stuff you need to distract yourself. And the coffee is delicious, so there’s that.

Interviewer: Why do you think the recipe became viral? Dalgona isn’t a widely known candy anywhere outside Korea.

Informant: I think it’s because everyone’s bored everywhere right now. No matter what nationality, people just want something to do. And with stuff like TikTok and Twitter, anything can be viral globally now.


The informant is a barista in Seoul, Korea. The recipe preexisted in different cultures, most notably in Macao. But around January of 2020, the recipe became a viral trend amongst Korean Twitter users, and it has since spread all over the world under the name ‘Dalgona Coffee’. On social media apps like Tiktok, making this coffee has gotten viral- under hashtag “dalgonacoffee” there are 280 million views on Tiktok, as of April 2020, and recreating this recipe has since become a viral challenge. Many cafes in Korea have since started actually selling this coffee, including the very cafe that my informant works at.


The conversation took place over the phone, and the informant was alone in his apartment during the talk, in a comfortable environment.

My thoughts:

I think this recipe had all the perfect elements to go viral. It’s extremely easy to make, and there’s just the right amount of mundane labor to keep you distracted, but not enough to tire you out too much. It’s a delicious coffee too, so it only made sense that people around the world took part in this challenge.

Quarantini: the social-distanced Martini

The following is a transcribed interview conducted over a video chat between me and interviewee, hereby further referred to as NC.

NC: Let’s have this conversation over some quarantinis. 

Me: Quarantinis? What are those?

NC: It’s just a saying for video chatting with your friends with drinks. Basically any drink that you make while you’re drinking at home by yourself or while cyber “drinking with friends” is a quarantini.

Me: What does that stem from?

NC: Well, because we’re in quarantine and can’t go out for martinis, we’re just gonna have to settle for our indoor social-distanced drink, the quarantini of your choice made with whatever you have on-hand or that isn’t sold out of your local grocery store. 

Me: Fair point. So just to be clear, any drink that you’re drinking is considered a quarantini?

NC: Well, other than like beer and wine. It’s basically any mixed drink but it doesn’t really matter what it is since no one can see what you’re drinking anyways!

Me: And where did you pick this up?

NC: Oh, everyone is just saying it. I’m sure it started out as a meme and spread from there.


Interviewee is a friend of mine who has been picking up on a lot of slang from other friends and classmates. She is a senior at an East-Coast University, but has since moved back to the west since COVID-19.


This piece of folklore was collected during a video call between me and interviewee during the Coronavirus Pandemic. I have known the interviewee for many years, so the conversation was casual. 


I think that people are doing what they can to get by during the stay-at-home orders and one of those things seems to be regular alcohol consumption. According to the news sources, alcohol purchase and consumption is up during the quarantine. Further, people are finding ways to socialize, even in social distancing. This was not the first time, nor the last that I heard the term “quarantini” to refer to a drink made at home during this time. The term is now fairly common and I have been also seeing quite a few memes about it as well.

“Zumped” Quarantine Folk Phrase

Main Piece: 

Informant- Last night I was zumped. My boyfriend and I hadn’t seen each other for a few weeks due to quarantine. He invited me to a zoom meeting last night and I was unsure what he needed. On the zoom he then explained that he was dumping me! Over zoom! 

Background: The informant recalls an interaction with her boyfriend where she was ‘zumped’. She used this word in a casual scenario combing the words zoom and dumped. This word and her phrasing poked fun at the odd scenario of being dumped through a video app. 

Context: The informant is a young adult, 22 years old and lives in New York City. Above are the words from the Informant using the phrase Zumped. She used this phrase in a casual conversation recalling the events from the night before. 

Thoughts: The combination of the word Zoom and Dumping is an interesting way for people to bring some humor to an odd scenario. This time of quarantine is very liminal, allowing for many new adaptations of folklore. This new phrase ‘zumping’ is popular because couples who can’t quarantine together are being forced to go their separate ways. This liminal time period has introduced many uncertainties and testing intimate relationships forcing them to communicate through zoom. 

Quarantini Recipe

Main Piece: 

Informant- “In my quarantini I like to combine orange juice, vitamin C, and tequila. So the vitamin c and orange juice give great energy and revitalize your immune system. And of course, the tequila kills germs! It’s a great way to relax and cleanse after a day in this quarantine.”

Background: The informant is the mother of three daughters, 54 years old. She lives in Northern California. The quarantine described above is a recipe created by the informant and represents her vision for an alcoholic beverage styled for the quarantine.  The beverage is a fun way to drink alcohol and disguise it as a medicine for the quarantine. 

Context: Here, the informant shares her recipe for a quarantini. I collected the information while watching her make and talk about the quarantini. 

Thoughts: The combination of the word Martini and Quarantine is an interesting way for people to bring some humor to a liminal uncertain time period. This time of quarantine is very liminal, allowing for many new adaptations of folklore. This new phrase ‘quarantini’ is popular because it brings lighthearted humor to an at home bar scenario. This new drink can change from house to house and usually incorporates alcohol, to protect from virus bacteria, and vitamins, to boost immune systems.  Alcohol sales have seen an increase during the quarantine and possibly because everyone is eager to make their own qaurantini folk medicine.