I just had two lovely boxes of dragon beard candy delivered to my door!
On a recent road trip with my family to Toronto for a family reunion, I spent a good portion of the car ride talking about dragon beard candy and how it is becoming so hard to find. I remember going to Pacific Mall every time I visited Toronto, in search of dragon beard candy, and was SOL every time. My uncle told me that it is very easy to find in Montreal, and the guy who makes it is always around. Remembering our conversation from that road trip, my uncle picked up two boxes of the delightful candy this past weekend, and brought it home for me (*smiles*).
Dragon beard candy is a very delicate and labor intensive Chinese candy that is made from spun sugar. Sugar is boiled and then repeatedly pulled and folded over, creating hundreds of thin sugar strands. The sugar is then covered in glutinous flour to prevent sticking.
It was created over 2000 years ago, and was once a treat made strictly for the Emperors of China. The candy got its name from the fact that the strands of sugar resembles a beard, and it is called dragon beard because the dragon is an imperial Chinese symbol.
Today, there are only a handful of people in the world that know the art of dragon beard candy making. It is an interesting process, and if you ever get the chance, I urge you to see how it is made in real-life. It is entertaining and depending on the person, it can become a theatrical performance.
Once the sugar strands are made, they are cut into small pieces, and then wrapped around a roasted peanut, sesame seed, and shredded coconut mixture.
A lot people I know love keeping this candy in the fridge before eating, but I much prefer it fresh.
My uncle got my dragon beard candy from Montreal's China Town. They couldn't remember the exact location, but they did tell me that it is in the middle of China Town beside a Mongolian hot pot place. Luckily, Montreal's China Town is fairly small.
In Toronto, you can find dragon beard candy at Pacific mall. The guys is there most weekends, but I can't say what time or days because he wasn't there everytime I went to find him.