K= Korean candy-aka, Dragon’s Beard
Wow, oh wow! This is some serious candy making right here! Check out the video at the end of my post, it’s long, but magical!
A couple of legends surround the origin of Dragon’s Beard candy, the most popular being the story of a Han dynasty emperor. It’s said that after eating hand-pulled sugar, the white wisps stuck to his face resembled the whiskers of a dragon. Yet another is that the candy was named after the symbol of the Chinese emperor, the mythical dragon, that is, because it was so special and labor-intensive that only royals could enjoy it.
Luckily, these days anyone can eat it and it can be sampled on the street corners all over Asia and in Chinatowns all around the world.
The process in creating such a simple, yet complicated-to-make confection owes much to the theatrical presentation as to the painstaking process, as some vendors add heir own special touches, including entertaining narration and special effects. For example, Roger Poon, a candy maker in Singapore adds liquid nitrogen to create billows of smoke mimicking “dragon’s breath” that customers can blow out. (Warning: Health experts say eating liquid nitrogen might burn your throat and skin.) (Click on the link to see the smoke eaters live at the bottom video of the post featuring Roger Poon)
The process starts after simmering and cooling the sweetener into a hard gel, then shaping it into a ring that they fold again and again into figure eights until they’ve separated it into thousands of fine hairs. The slightest misstep can destroy the strands, so confectioners must use patience and great care. They then wind the strings around a filling like crushed peanuts, coconut, or sesame seeds to form a sweet, delicate nugget.
The ephemeral treat is super sensitive to temperature and moisture, so even though you might be distracted by it’s beauty, gobble it up quickly with your hands and don’t forget to wipe away your dragon’s beard when you’re finished!
These tasty treats can be found in China, Singapore, South Korea, and Hong Kong. However, if you’re in Canada, you may be in luck! Visit Bonbons a la Barbe de Dragon- 1014 Rue Clark, Montreal, Quebec, H2Z1j9, Canada