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Dragon's Beard Candy


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Unfortunately I cannot help you, but please tell us, What is "Dragon's Beard Candy"?

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Unfortunately I cannot help you, but please tell us, What is "Dragon's Beard Candy"?

there is a post on egullet in another forum on dragon beard candy-

also check out www.yuzumura.com

i would check out the korean stores and not chinatown-

han ah reum in midtown or out in queens

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Here is the other thread about Dragon's Beard Candy. Included in that thread is a link to a website that includes a video you can download (bandwidth allowing) that shows a demonstration.

It's amazing - watch it if you have the technology!

Marsha Lynch aka "zilla369"

Has anyone ever actually seen a bandit making out?

Uh-huh: just as I thought. Stereotyping.

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Did anyone catch what she said on the video about what it is exactly made with? Sugar and What? Looked like 10X sugar he was dusting it with... and what did they roll into the middle?

Tonyy13

Owner, Big Wheel Provisions

tony_adams@mac.com

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Marsha, Thanks for the links. That is cool stuff. I may have to try ordering some or see if my son can bring some home from China this summer.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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GaijinGirl, you'll find dragon's beard candy at Deluxe Market in C-town, the stand that also sells peanut soup. It's right by one of the entrances but of course I can't remember which. It might be Mott.

The human mouth is called a pie hole. The human being is called a couch potato... They drive the food, they wear the food... That keeps the food hot, that keeps the food cold. That is the altar where they worship the food, that's what they eat when they've eaten too much food, that gets rid of the guilt triggered by eating more food. Food, food, food... Over the Hedge
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Ahhh now i know what this is.. I had this in chinatown in Montreal... This was the first and only time I tried this stuff.. I popped the whole thing in my mouth and inhaled the sugar.. I was coughing and puffs of powder was comming out of my mouth.. It was pretty good tasting.

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I was coughing and puffs of powder was comming out of my mouth.

Aaah, Dragon's breath :raz::laugh: ! :smile:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I don't know where it's made locally in New York but here in Hong Kong it's available on the street. It's not easy to find, though, especially in this weather (it doesn't last in the humidity - which is about 90 per cent right now). I know that one company is trying to turn it into some kind of upscale, exotic confection - they're selling it in beautiful boxes for about US$20 for 10 pieces, which is outrageous (on the street it's about US$1 for four pieces). They say that the company's "master" is one of the few who knows the "secret" behind making the dragon's beard candy - but when you see the guy making it on the street, he's very casual about it. Theirs is supposed to be long-lasting, though - the street version lasts for about 30 minutes before it turns hard. It's usually filled with sesame seeds, peanuts and sugar.

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Ahhh now i know what this is.. I had this in chinatown in Montreal... This was the first and only time I tried this stuff.. I popped the whole thing in my mouth and inhaled the sugar.. I was coughing and puffs of powder was comming out of my mouth.. It was pretty good tasting.

You and I have had the same experience in Montreal, then -- it's fantastic stuff, and it's one of my few lasting memories of Montreal.

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I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and you can buy Dragon Beard Candy from the Asian markets. It's absolutely delicious. I have some in my freezer (it keeps better that way) and it just melts in your mouth.

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Quick question - anyone know where to find Dragon's Beard candy in Chinatown?  It's now on my *to try* list....!  Thanks!  GG

I've seen them make it in front of the food court in the Flushing Mall. It was on a saturday. I'm not sure if they do it everyday. Wow, now I wish I had bought some!

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I'm the importer for the Hong Kong brand of dragon beard candy (Bamboo Garden).

I've heard there's a guy on Grand street in New York that frequently does dragon beard candy from a tiny storefront location, but I'm not sure if he's still there. This is the street version: soft, sticky, sweet, powdery, and will melt very quickly in humid conditions.

There is also a Turkish candy called Pismaniya which is similar to dragon beard candy but made with butter or oil, and not quite as finely stretched strands (probably machine-made). This doesn't usually have a nut filling, though sometimes nuts are put on top.

For the dragon beard candy that I import, it is a bit different than the traditional version because they tried to create a more delicate, refined texture that isn't as cloyingly sweet, wouldn't melt while being stored, but is still handmade.

The reasons for the higher price of the packaged version are many-fold, and not just a matter of branding. One, most of the dragon beard candy producers do not usually pay much in rent or real estate costs, since they tend to work as street vendors. Also, they are usually using cheaper grades of ingredients, including maltose, the wheat germ sugar; the transparent type costs substantially more (sometimes 3 times the cost) than the yellowish one. When selling packaged products, it's also important to make sure that the peanuts are higher quality because older ones can contain molds that produce aflatoxin, and the coconut and sesame is also more expensive than peanut. Shipping and transport also factor into the price, particularly in Singapore, Japan, and the US, but even in Hong Kong where it is made, where they have to truck it from Kowloon to several retail shops.

Mr. Wong, who founded Bamboo Garden, also spent quite a bit of money and about 5 years time developing their packaging technique and tweaked recipe. Their version of the candy doesn't melt once packaged properly, although like the street version, when they demonstrate the candy in person, they have to refrigerate it to keep it from melting.

Since they also make everything by hand, they also invested money in HACCCP certification to ensure hygienic processes, traceability, and quality control. None of these are expenses that street vendors would normally undertake. There are also staffing costs for explaining the product to customers, which is either paid by the company shops or by the retailers who offer the product, which have their own expenses.

Only a few hundred people in the world still know this technique, and since it usually takes a few years of apprenticeship or training to learn to do well, there aren't as many younger folks taking it on. That is why it is harder to find on the street in Hong Kong or China these days; not many people want to spend two or three years learning how to make something that will require working on the street all day for a trivial amount of money. Part of Bamboo Garden's goal was to preserve these kinds of traditional techniques. Just like artisanal cheeses or breads or chocolates, there's a price to pay for being able to have that experience. I think people aren't used to that for Asian foods, except, perhaps, for some Japanese things.

I started importing it because it was exciting for me to see a company in Hong Kong really emphasize quality first, and not try to compete by offering unremarkable products at cheap prices. I value things that are produced where they are, the way they are, for a particular reason.

I have been quite willing to pay $4 or so for a piece of good quality Japanese confectionary in a department store basement that was an equally ephemeral experience... It's not an everyday indulgence, but I really appreciated that. I'm also equally willing to pay $1.70 for a 5 or 10 gram piece of some La Maison du Chocolat when an occasion calls for that indulgence, even though I have the option of eating a whole Hershey bar for 50 cents.

It's a different experience. For dragon beard candy, there's definitely something to watching Mr. Wong or any other maker produce it in front of you, but it's also really nice to be able to go home and make a pot of really good tea and serve a little something sweet to guests in a more relaxed setting. I probably wouldn't use the street vendor version as a wedding favor or a gift, either...

Wing Wah or Kee Wah bakery aren't the cheapest way to get Hong Kong style cakes or pastries either, but they also stand out with distinctive quality.

There's at least as much labor (roughly 10-15 minutes just on the stretching and filling, not counting the roasting of the nut filling and sugar preparation) behind a batch of 40 pieces of dragon beard candy as behind producing even 40 really high quality pieces of chocolate, so even if the street vendors were charging the same as Bamboo Garden I don't think I'd begrudge them. It is a fairly specialized skill. Most of the street vendors do tell the story of the origins of the candy, but many are probably fairly humble about their own skill.

I actually would like to see more of this kind of thinking from China and India... Rather than being a destination for cheap outsourced manufacturing or services, I'd love to see investment in products that are really indigenous made with a real obsession for quality, indigenous brands, designers, etc, and especially making traditional foods with the same level of interest in "being the best" that you'd find at a Japanese soba-maker or New York bagel shop or Parisian confectioner.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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He was dusting the sugar confection with cornstarch. That's primarily to keep the candy from sticking together while it's being worked. The sugar itself is basically maltose (wheat germ sugar in this case, or other malted grain sugar) and regular sugar; it's boiled to roughly hard crack stage.

The filling is peanut, coconut, and sesame in Bamboo Garden's version. In Korea some companies fill this with sweet potato and black sesame seeds, and some street vendors have been known to use bean pastes.

Did anyone catch what she said on the video about what it is exactly made with?  Sugar and What?  Looked like 10X sugar he was dusting it with... and what did they roll into the middle?

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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I appreciate Jason's excellent explanatary posts on the product. While they are pertinent answers to questions asked in this thread, additional discussion of this particular product or dragon's beard candy generically should continue on this thread.. This topic should be limited to further discussion of this candy in the New York region. Thanks for your understanding

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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  • 1 month later...

After three tries, I found Dragon's Beard Candy at Deluxe Food Mart - verdict? It was nice - lightly sweet - but would I rave about it? No. Honestly, I think Haw Flakes are ten times better.

(Pan, sorry - couldn't find the original thread to attach this one to!!)

Janet --GG

Mochi, Foi Thong and Rojak - what more can a girl want from life?

http://www.frombruneiandbeyond.com

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  • 8 months later...

I live in Flushing, Queens, NY and a co-worker told me that under the LIRR in FLushing, are a couple of stores and one has a candy-making stand in the middle. They actually make it in the store and sell it cheap.

Flushing in Queens has a large Asian population and I'm going to try to go soon to check it out.

but i'd love to find a place in C-town that makes it fresh.

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