Dragon's beard candy

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Dragon's beard candy
Dragon's beard candy
Traditional Chinese龍鬚糖
Simplified Chinese龙须糖
Literal meaningdragon beard candy
Alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese銀絲糖
Simplified Chinese银丝糖
Literal meaningsilver silk candy
Second alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese龍鬚酥
Simplified Chinese龙须酥
Literal meaningdragon whiskers pastry

Dragon's beard candy (traditional Chinese: 龍鬚糖; simplified Chinese: 龙须糖; pinyin: lóng xū táng) or Chinese cotton candy or Longxusu (simplified Chinese: 龙须酥; traditional Chinese: 龍鬚酥; pinyin: lóng xū sū) is a handmade traditional art of China. It is a traditional Chinese confectionary similar to floss halva or Western cotton candy, which can be found in many Chinese communities. Dragon's beard candy was initially created in China, but soon spread in popularity in other parts of East Asia, becoming a regional delicacy in South Korea in the 1990s, as well as more recently in Canada, Singapore, and the United States.

It has a low sugar content (19%) and low saturated fat content (2%).[1] By comparison, cotton candy is fat free with a very high sugar content (94%).[2] Dragon's beard candy has a very short shelf life. It is highly sensitive to moisture[3] and tends to melt when exposed to higher temperatures, notably during warm weather.


According to legend, Dragon's Beard Candy was invented during the Chinese Han Dynasty[4] by an imperial court chef who entertained the Emperor one day by performing the complicated steps in making a new confection, which involved stretching a dough-like mixture composed from rice flour into small, thin strands. These strands reminded the Emperor of a dragon's beard, and were sticky enough to adhere to one's face easily, so the concoction was named Dragon's Beard Candy. The name may also be attributed to the status of the mythical dragon as a symbol of the Chinese Emperor,[5] so presenting the confection as Dragon's Beard Candy was deemed acceptable due to the social nature of the candy. It was reserved only for the ruling class due to the complexity of the preparation process.

Dragon's Beard Candy became a source of conflict several centuries later, however, as during the Chinese Cultural Revolution the Red Guard, acting on the orders of the Chinese Communist Party, forbade the Chinese populace to take part in activities that could be attributed to the Han Dynasty.[6][citation needed] The initial rarity of the candy, combined with government policy banning the art, made the craft of making Dragon's Beard Candy even more isolated and sparsely practiced. Nevertheless, in recent years, the art has resurfaced in tourist destinations such as street festivals, and has even spread to farther reaches of the globe through dedicated masters of the task as well as Addison.


Dragon's beard candy being made

Traditionally, Dragon's Beard Candy is made from sugar and maltose syrup, although recipes based on corn syrup are now used in the United States. The main ingredients[1] of Dragon's Beard Candy include approximately 75 grams of fine white sugar, 75 grams of peanuts, 75 grams of desiccated coconut, 38 grams of white sesame seeds, 150 grams of maltose syrup, and 1 bowl of glutinous rice flour. Due to the presence of large amounts of syrup, the candy has a very high sugar content.

For preparation of Dragon's Beard Candy, the preparer must initially[7] boil and melt the saturated maltose solution (which may include sugar or corn syrup) for 5 minutes until thickened, followed by leaving the mixture to chill for 10 minutes until a semisolid state is reached. This resulting mass, which is somewhat flexible or elastic, is then formed into a torus. Next, the preparer must take the gooey sugar, corn syrup, or sugar cane based gel and dip it into the sugar dough. Thirdly, the gooey chunk must be shaped into a ring resembling a doughnut, the key feature being the large hole. This step must by followed by repeatedly pulling, twisting, stretching, and folding the dough over on itself, doubling the number of strands created after each repetition. While the candy is being folded, it is recommended to keep the dough covered in toasted glutinous flour to prevent it from sticking to surfaces. The dough must then be stretched into paper-thin strands, where each strand should be three to four inches long. Then, the strands should be tangled into a circular shape, and dipped into corn flour to keep the strands from sticking together. Finally, the ring should be cut into small pieces and wrapped around crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, crunched chocolate, or coconut inside. Specific Dragon's Beard Candy filling depends on several factors, such as region, purpose, and respective chef.

The candy is recommended to be consumed immediately after its preparation is complete, but it should remain fresh for up to six minutes in heat.[citation needed]

Comparison to Western cotton candy[edit]

Both cotton candy and Dragon's Beard Candy are made of sugar and share the characteristic of notable stickiness and a high sensitivity to moisture. Both substances will clump together when exposed to the air for a certain amount of time. However, cotton candy has a larger surface area, thus allowing a small amount of sugar to generate into a greater volume of product. Its serving on each stick is 37 grams, including food dyes[8] and flavor, containing around 110 calories per serving.[9] While Dragon's Beard Candy contain a lower content of sugar (7.2 grams),[10] it contains a slightly higher caloric content of 141.2, as well as a higher fat content (6.1 grams), compared to Western-style cotton candy, typically containing 0g of fat. This is due to the fact that in addition to sugar, Dragon's Beard is composed of peanuts, sesame seeds and other ingredients, while cotton candy is close to 100% sugars. The nutritional value of the wrapping alone is essentially identical to cotton candy's.[1]

Dragon's Beard Candy as compared to Western cotton candy
Amount Per serving = Serving Size:1(37g)
Dragon's Beard Candy Western-style cotton candy
Calories 141.2 110
Total Fat 6.1 g 0 g
Saturated Fat 0.8 g 0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 g 0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 21.1 g 28 g
Dietary Fiber 1.0 g 0 g
Sugars 7.2 g 28 g
Protein 3.2 g 0 g

Comparison to Traditional Candy and Coconut Wrap[edit]

Since both Dragon's beard candy and Traditional Candy and Coconut Wrap share similar appearance, many people find troubles in distinguishing the two. The major differences are as follows:

Dragon's beard candy as compared to Traditional Candy and Coconut Wrap
Dragon's beard candy Traditional Candy and Coconut Wrap
Ingredient Maltose and glutinous rice White granulated sugar added with water
Texture solf and melt in your mouth Fragrant, crumbly and crispy



It is common for street vendors of Dragon's Beard Candy to carry out the folding process involved in preparation of the confection at their stall, which can attract customers fascinated by the process as much as by a desire to purchase the candy. However, customers can purchase Dragon's Beard Candies through online stores.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Dragon Hair Candy or Dragon Beard Candy". www.food.com.[better source needed]
  2. ^ "Calories in Cotton Candy | CalorieKing". www.calorieking.com.
  3. ^ "YuzuMura.com: Bamboo Garden Icy-Crispy Dragon Beard Candy". www.yuzumura.com.
  4. ^ Ng Yan Yan. URL accessed on April 14, 2009.
  5. ^ Chris. "The importance of the Chinese Dragon". www.chinesedragon.org. Archived from the original on 2017-10-13.
  6. ^ "Cultural Revolution". www.fact-index.com.
  7. ^ "Uncle Phaedrus, Finder of Lost Recipes". www.hungrybrowser.com.
  8. ^ "The Shocking Truth about Food Dyes!". www.thealmightyguru.com.
  9. ^ "Calorie Chart, Nutrition Facts, Calories in Food | MyFitnessPal | MyFitnessPal.com". www.myfitnesspal.com.
  10. ^ "Calories in Yummy House dragon beard candy. Get full nutrition info and recipes of health". RecipeOfHealth.
  11. ^ "《香港事‧情》明明無蔥 點解又叫糖蔥餅?". 思考HK. Retrieved 2024-01-29.
  12. ^ "龍 鬚 糖". 中華傳統民俗技藝團. Retrieved 2024-01-29.

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