korean yang gang

Everything You Need to Know About Bam-Yang-Gang


Time to read 4 min

Valentine’s Day in the US is a broad celebration of love, spanning friends, family, and romantic partners alike. In Korea, however, the focus traditionally leans more towards romance, particularly on the men's part, as they shower women with gifts and confessions of love. Yet, there's a twist in the tale exactly a month later on White Day, when women return the favor. This year, White Day brought with it a delectable surprise that turned traditional gift-giving on its head!

The Sweet Surprise of White Day: Yang-gangTakes the Crown!

This White Day wasn't just about ordinary gifts like chocolates or flowers; it was dominated by an unconventional hero—Yeongyanggaeng, affectionately dubbed Bam-Yang-Gang. This traditional Korean sweet red bean jelly catapulted to fame, fueled by the viral hit "Bam Yanggaeng" (Chestnut Jelly Bean) by singer Bibi. This catchy tune wove the humble Bam-Yang-Gang into a narrative of love and desire, transforming it into the season’s must-have gift.

Musical Boost: Bibi’s "Bam-Yang-gaeng"

"You’ve got a list of wishes,
But babe, there’s just one dish,
That sweet, sweet, sweet chestnut delight,
So sweet, Bam-Yang-Gang tonight."

This enchanting song captures the delicate interplay between a woman who desires to share simple chestnut sweets and her partner who dreams of grander aspirations. Accompanied by the gentle and charming rhythm of a waltz, "Bam Yang-gang" features a simple, catchy melody and the soft, soothing voice of singer Bibi. The song became a cultural phenomenon in Korea, inspiring a variety of springtime memes and renewing interest in yanggaeng—a traditional snack whose popularity had waned over its long history. Remarkably, this resurgence in yanggaeng’s appeal has sparked a newfound appreciation among Gen Z for these nostalgic, "grandmotherly" snacks.

Why Red Beans Rock: The Lowdown on Korea’s Favorite Bean

Red beans are a staple in Korean culinary traditions, cherished for their versatility and nutritional benefits. These beans are a common sight at red bean shaved ice shops during the hot summer months and are equally popular in sweet red bean porridge served in the chilly winter, making them a year-round favorite on the Korean tourist circuit. Not only are red beans known for their fluffy texture and balanced flavor profile—sweet yet subtly savory—they are also nutritional powerhouses. Packed with ten times the dietary fiber of apples and six times that of cabbage, red beans are excellent for managing diabetes. They're also rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which help stabilize blood pressure, and contain more protein than milk, solidifying their status as a beloved snack for all seasons.

 their appeal across different age groups.

azuki shaved ice

While red beans are universally loved, they are particularly challenging to use in making Yang-gang, a traditional Korean sweet bean jelly. Yang-gang's intensely sweet and chewy texture, which is ideally suited for those with a preference for softer foods, such as the elderly with dental sensitivities, has led to a decrease in its popularity among the younger demographic. This highlights a unique aspect of culinary preferences, where even highly nutritious and cherished ingredients may require innovative approaches to broaden

The Epic Return of Yang-Gang

haitai Yang-gang
해태제과 연양갱 1957년 제품. (사진=해태제과 제공)

Yokan, a traditional dessert, traces its origins back to China where it started as a solidified lamb soup. This early form underwent a significant transformation when Japanese monks, who had studied in China, brought it back to Japan and adapted it into the sweet dessert we know today. After Korea gained independence, a local confectionery company repurposed an empty factory previously operated by the Japanese to produce what is now known as Yang-gang. This snack, made by combining red bean paste and agar in a large pot, gained immense popularity and continued to be produced even during the Korean War due to high demand.

As Korea's economy grew and the food supply became more plentiful, the popularity of yanggaeng began to decline. However, it saw a resurgence as a favored nutritious snack among those engaging in outdoor evening activities like hiking and running, thanks to its high moisture content and caloric value. Additionally, riding the wave of the retro trend, yanggaeng has captured the hearts of the Gen Z generation, making it popular once again.

Agar: The Secret Behind the Squish

One of the key ingredients in making yanggaeng is agar, a plant-based substance similar to gelatin used in the United States. Agar is derived from seaweed, specifically agar-agar, harvested from the shores of the Korean Peninsula. The process involves fishing the agar-agar from the sea, thoroughly drying it to eliminate salt, then boiling, pressing it into bags, cooling, and finally solidifying it. Due to the labor-intensive and time-consuming process required to produce agar, substitutes are sometimes used in regular yanggaeng production.

Milyang's Premium Bean Jelly, highly favored in Rom America, is made from the exceptionally clean agar-agar sourced from the Jeju Sea in Korea, known for its purity. This ingredient contributes to the jelly's cherished chewy and soft texture.

Copyright (c) 2021 R.H. Guas/Shutterstock.


The meticulous process of creating agar, an essential ingredient in yanggaeng, highlights the dedication to quality and tradition in Korean confectionery. This attention to detail ensures that each bite of yanggaeng offers a perfect blend of chewiness and softness, making it a unique and delightful treat.

For those who appreciate the rich cultural heritage and exquisite taste of traditional Korean sweets, the Premium Bean Jelly Set (명품 양갱 세트) offers an excellent opportunity. This 21-piece set showcases a variety of flavors, each meticulously crafted with the finest agar from the pristine Jeju Sea. Treat yourself or gift this luxurious set to someone special and enjoy the authentic taste of Korea. Order your Premium Bean Jelly Set today and savor the rich, delicate textures that have been cherished across generations