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!

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