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Favorite Sweet Treat - 龍鬚糖

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What's your favorite sweet treat?

Dragon Beard Candy 龍鬚糖.

I rarely get to eat it because it's only something you see around the Lunar New Year celebrations, but it's nifty to watch it being made. Watch the video.

It's one whole tub of thick, gooey maltose sugar dumped into a pan of fine icing sugar or confectioners sugar. A chopstick is stabbed through the middle of the wad. It's pulled out into a doughnut shape and pulled more to stretch it thinner and thinner into less than the thickness of toothpaste accidentally squished out of the carelessly uncapped tube by the knee of a mountaineering child.

It's doubled up on itself and pulled out, doubled up, pulled out, again and again. A rope becomes a handful of rope. A handful of rope becomes a handful of string. The string becomes thinner and thinner. Eventually, you get a handful of white whispy gossamer threads.

I'm always mesmerized watching those threads move, towards the end. I always want to keep watching The Master flick the strand of Dragon's Beard at the end. One day, I'd really love to just have a small strand to play with to my heart's content. They've always looked so strange to me, like poorly done computer graphics animation of hair movement. It looks heavy and light at the same time... just very very unreal.

I'm odd. I like Dragon's Beard plain, just rolled up by itself, without the peanut crumble or anything else that they're usually rolled up with. The threads crunch if you chew on them, but they'll melt into a gob of maltose if you let it. I like that it's not sickly sweet.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 2nd, 2006 05:09 pm (UTC)
You're welcome =)
Nov. 2nd, 2006 04:55 pm (UTC)
Wow that looks awesome. I'm ashamed I didn't know about it when I was in Hong Kong (presumably I would have been able to find it there?) I wonder if I can find it in Asian supermarkets... or SF Chinatown...
Nov. 2nd, 2006 05:15 pm (UTC)
I think you'd be hard-pressed to find any until about the week or so before the Lunar New Year (February 18, 2007). They don't preserve well, so you have to have them as they're made. I usually see them set up at temporary demonstration tables or a booths around food courts in Chinese malls or supermarkets.
Nov. 2nd, 2006 08:26 pm (UTC)
I'm at work so I can't watch the video, but if it's what I'm thinking I've seen video of it being made. I like how they keep dusting it with icing sugar (?) to keep the strands separate. Never had the opportunity to try it, but I would imagine it would be pretty good. And yes, gossamer *IS* the word for how fine the strands are. :)
Nov. 2nd, 2006 09:21 pm (UTC)
Yup, that's the one =)
Nov. 2nd, 2006 08:33 pm (UTC)
Amazing video. There was a tub of maltose sugar at my parents' house. We used to dip chopsticks into it and pull it into strings. I think they bought it because my brothers and I really liked these flaky white pastries from a Houston Chinatown bakery with maltose filling.
Nov. 2nd, 2006 09:21 pm (UTC)
Twirled on a chopstick is great too. Of course, I got smart and started using the tablespoons =D
Nov. 3rd, 2006 07:47 am (UTC)
I like pink cotton candy. I eat half of it by grabbing small pieces and letting it melt on my tongue. And then I take the other half and smush it into a disk. It gets hard and I eat it like a hard candy.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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