Dragon Beard Candy

July 4, 2009 at 08:56 3 comments


OK, these look heck of a lot like maggots, but maggots they are not. These things are dragon beard candy, made from hand-pulled sugar strands wrapped around crushed peanuts. They’ve been around a long time – supposedly thousands of years, when they were made purely for royal consumption.

This candy brings back memories every time I see it, because my mum introduced me to them when I was about five. There was a vendor in Thomson Plaza who actually made the stuff on site. I cannot begin to describe how fascinating the process is. You start with a stiff golden lump of melted blended sugar, work it supple, then pull it till it’s like a floppy donut. Then you double the donut, and twist, and pull, and double it again and again, dipping it often into a pile of flour, until suddenly there’s masses of super-fine, snowy-white threads that waft at the ends. That’s the beard. It looks exactly like the most perfect beard. Then you cut it, use it to wrap small heaps of crushed nuts, and that’s that.

In Singapore’s humid climate, the shelf life of this candy is negligible, but that makes it all the more exquisite. You have to eat it all up fast, before it gets sticky and hard. My favourite part is always the beard. Nothing else on earth has quite that texture of semi-sweet dry threads that wilt on the tongue and vanish. The other way to eat it is in big chunks, chewing on the gooey crunchiness till it melts away.

My mum loved this stuff, and I think of her each time I see a box of dragon beard candy. This is one of my childhood memories.


Entry filed under: Dear Diary. Tags: , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. kel  |  July 5, 2009 at 23:47

    yumyum. me like too.. i like the other variety too – easier to handle.. always sold at the same shop – the popiah skin type? (:


  • 2. purplejake  |  July 7, 2009 at 04:28

    What a beautiful description – it makes me want to try some!

    • 3. Katie  |  July 7, 2009 at 10:08

      It is good stuff! On your next trip to Singapore perhaps? :)


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Welcome to my blog!

My blog-name is Katie but I will not respond if you call me that in real life because it's not my real name. Yes, I do practise virtual-world paranoia. No, I do not enjoy stalkers. But I do enjoy writing and having folks reading said writing, so welcome to my world. It's nice to meet you.

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I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song (Jim Croce)

Book(s) of the moment

Hogfather (Terry Pratchett)

Books read in 2010 and 2011

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows (JK Rowling) - 'cos the movie's coming out!
Frankenstein: Lost Souls (Dean Koontz) - ah, bugger, it's part of a series! Now I hafta find all the books...
Dismantled (Jennifer McMahon) - oh, good one
Tigerlily's Orchids (Ruth Rendell)
Shutter Island (Dennis LeHane) - reminds me too much of work
Holy Fools (Joanne Harris) - it's official: I prefer her scary books
A Series of Unfortunate Events; The Unauthorized Autobiography; The Beatrice Letters (Lemony Snicket)
The Little Friend (Donna Tartt)
The main books - 11 so far - of the Southern Vampire series; the Aurora Teagarden series except for A Fool & His Honey - that makes it 7; Sweet & Deadly (Charlaine Harris)
The Woman in Black (Susan Hill)
Full Dark, No Stars (Stephen King)
Room: A Novel (Emma Donaghue)
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)
The Bachman Books (Stephen King)
Men At Arms (Terry Pratchett)
Carpe Jugulum (Terry Pratchett)
The Fifth Elephant (Terry Pratchett)
Beauty (Robin McKinley)
The Sandman, Vol 1 (Neil Gaiman)
The Burden (Agatha Christie) - her crime novels are waaay better
Snuff (Terry Pratchett)

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