Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin
Saturday, 16 January 2010
Dragon Beard Candy - 龙须糖 - lóng xū táng
This is a Chinese sweet treat, Dragon Beard Candy (龙须糖) or (龍鬚糖) consists of many very fine strands of sugar, which gives an appearance and consistency of a fine beard, apparently like that of a dragon – hence its name. You can get many flavours of this tasty speciality, spicy, crispy icy, almond and ones I cannot imagine like wasabi laver and black sesame and the list goes on.
I bought some almond flavour dragon beard candy today from Chinatown, London. It blew my mind. I cannot think of anything that even comes close to describing the texture, taste or how great it is. It is soft and fluffy, but has a slight crunch to the crumbling crushed peanuts. The combination of odd textures is quite remarkable.
This is a truly rare and unique dessert which will leave you speechless. It is said that only recently have Dragon Beard Candy been allowed to be eaten by anyone other than the emperor of China. Although one feels that this could just be a persuasive sales technique to remind you of the quality of them.
My friend Jack likes to describe it as "like eating a hairy cloud full of almonds..." I like the cloud metaphor, it suits the sweet deservedly well. A disarmingly soft, melt in your mouth moment occurs (much like candy floss) but you do have some substance left with the peanuts.
There is a video of some Dragon Beard candy being made here. It is extraordinary how the sugar is so elastic-y and really is an artform unto itself.
Jack took a picture of one of our candies today. Simply gorgeous to look at, and although an odd textural experience, very tasty.
Does anyone know of somewhere in London that makes Dragon beard candy from scratch? Preferably so I can watch them make it too? I had some boxed ones today. And whilst they were lovely, I get the feeling having them fresh would be exquisite.