Candy With A Beard & Winners of the Starbucks Coffees
Usually, hairy isn’t a good thing.
As in armpits.
Or finding yourself entangled in a crazy situation.
But when it comes to Chinese candy, it can be a very good thing, indeed.
I found that out when a chef-friend brought me back a souvenir from Hong Kong: Dragon Beard Candy.
This unusual confection is also known as “noodle candy,” because the way it’s made is similar to that of hand-pulled noodles.
Malt sugar is boiled, then chilled until just the right elastic consistency. Then, it is hand-pulled and stretched, which doubles the number of strands each time.
The spun sugar is then cut into small pieces and wrapped around a filling of roasted sesame seeds, chopped peanuts and shredded coconut.
The “hair” is superfine, almost like thread. When you bite into the sweet candy, the “hair” shatters immediately, giving way to a crunchy nuttiness.
According to legend — or the back of my box — an emperor in the Sung Dynasty was so fond of the candy that it became featured as an imperial treat at the palace. It was fitting, given that the dragon was the symbol of the emperor, and the thousand strands of the candy were said to resemble the emperor’s beard.
Another friend, who has lived in China, said that she remember watching vendors making the spun sugar, as passersby would gather to watch.
Which just goes to show that hairy — at least when it comes to candy — can be a definite crowd pleaser.
Contest Results: Now, for the five winners of the Starbucks Natural Fusions flavored coffees. Each person will receive a bag of each of the three different flavors (Vanilla, Caramel and Cinnamon), as well as a French press.
As you recall in my recent contest, I asked you to take your best shot at answering this question: “Without coffee in the morning, I am….”
I’m glad I’m not the only one who desperately needs that first cup in the morning to be myself. Here are the winners who had the best answers:
1) Kara, who wrote: “Without coffee in the morning, I am still five layers beneath my covers, immobile. Unshowered. Late. Woeful. Fast forward a few hours, and without coffee in the morning, I am succinctly fired. Let’s just say it’s a job preserver.”
2) MomGateway, who wrote: “Based on my first-hand experience… without coffee in the morning… a native Colombian’s day goes seizmic–hand tremors, knee jerks, clouded thinking and ballistic hair day…”
3) Rachel Best, who wrote: “Without coffee in the morning, I fear for my life since I become the clumsiest person this green earth. If I make it to the kitchen for that first heavenly cup without running into walls, tripping over my feet, and falling over one of my cats, then I know its going to be a good day. Coffee is life….’Nuff said!”
4) Sandy Smith, who wrote: “Without coffee in the morning I am incomplete, anemic, wan. My blood type is French Roast, Black.”
5) Marcia, who wrote: Without coffee in the morning I would be grumpy, slow and slightly ill. I take my soup mug of very strong French roast with me out to milk Molly cow and add a couple of warm, rich, frothy squirts right into my coffee cup and all is well.”
Thanks to all for participating!
More Asian Specialties: Real Wasabi
Congrats to the winners! Those candies look a lot like the Turkish cotton candies…
I first tried these dragon beard candies in Vancouver at the Richmond Summer Night Market! It was cool being able to watch how they are made. Congrats to all the winners 🙂
that is some funky ass candy. i’m totally game for trying it!
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Wow…Thanks a lot!…no more seizmic–hand tremors, knee jerks, clouded thinking and ballistic hair day for a long while!
First congratulations to the winners 🙂 The candy sure looks interesting…would love to try it.
Carolyn, this is another reason why you need to get to Koi Palace in Daly City. They have a guy in the front pulling these dragon beard candy. I never tried them, but they look like cotton candy. I don’t know if they twirl it around a nut bar like they do in Hong Kong, though.
I remember seeing those candies in HK during my childhood trips to see the family. There’s so many neat delicacies to try there!
Those look and sound GREAT!!!! I wish we had a China town.
Thanks so much Carolyn – looking forward to that great Starbucks coffee – and the press!
I love the look of the candies,and I bet biting into them is kind of fun. I’d love to watch them being made too.
What unique and intriguing candy…I’ve got to hunt some down (I live near Chinatown, hopefully I can find some there)…
Congratulations! Of course, I love Marcia with her cup under the udders!
Carolyn – you’re genuis at both the quirky and the sublime! Made my day a nice hairy one.
I think I remember these candies from my childhood in Shanghai but maybe that was Cotton Candy!
This Dragon Beard Candy looks much more delicate than those I saw before usually sold by street vendors.
Congrats to the winners, esp the one whose blood type is French Roast, Black. So funny! 😀
The candy is so intriguing with that beautiful spun sugar. Congrats to the winners, too! All of the responses were so clever!
Single Guy Ben: I’ve been to Koi Palace, but only for dinner, and there was no guy making beard candy then. Must be a dim sum-only kind of thing. Guess I’ll have to brave the huge crowds and go for dim sum soon. 😉
what an awesomely unique and interesting treat! i hope i can scrounge some up at some point in my life. 🙂
This candy is definitely the only time when I’d be happy to find hair in my food. Sounds tasty!
kind of reminds me of thicker cotton candy
Oh, my gosh! These are soooo cool! And they sound really yummy, too!
They look so… unusual! I’ve heard that there is a place that makes it here in Sydney in Chinatown. I should check it out next time I am there! 🙂
I saw a film on the making of these candies and was so intrigued, I bet your batch of goodies was just delicious. I now feel robbed of an opportunity that I did not try them when I was in HK.
This is a really interesting candy. Have never tasted one before. But I would like to if there was ever an opportunity to do so. Thanks for sharing.
I miss Hong Kong! These were sold everywhere…the best is when you get to watch the guy take a lump of sugary dough and continue to divide it up until he ends up with a few hundred (thousand?) sugary threads. Like noodle pulling, except way more delicate.
Agreed, Koi Palace is a must to try it.
The one there does not have coconut in it. Definitely crushed peanuts, and I can’t recall sesame seeds, but maybe.
There is another flavor too, coffee pork or something like that – which I’ve yet to try.
First time I tried this was at the Danshui nightmarket in Taiwan. YUM!
hahaha this is so funny, I was think what were you cocooning there for a start! lol! 🙂
We saw a guy making dragon beard candy in Yokohama. Even took a video:
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