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dragon whiskers candy, 16,000 honey strings
January 6, 2011 1:21 PM   Subscribe

Dragon whiskers, honey skein, King's Dessert, Kkultarae, a Korean street vendor shows how to make 16.000 honey strings in two minutes. More looks at the making of this amazing candy, the wows of appreciation are worth waiting for and a close-up at the end. You can try making some yourself. What it tastes like.

It's called dragon beard candy in Hong Kong.
posted by nickyskye (38 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite

 
He is a good honey string maker, but his math is horrible!
posted by found missing at 1:29 PM on January 6, 2011


Man, that video made me happier than anything has in a long time.
posted by koeselitz at 1:39 PM on January 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


He is a good honey string maker, but his math is horrible!

I know, it's like he's never heard of topology! All I see is one honey string!

Oh, wait, now he's done it. He cut the manifold. Why did he cut the manifold!?


Somewhere The Count from Sesame Street is going from noodle shop to candy shop asking them to slow down. "2... 2 honey strings! Ha ha! 3, 4 honey strings! Ha... 5, 6, 7, 8... 9... 16... 17... 32 hey, slow down! Slow down! I can't count that fast! Stop! Are you mad!? I'm going to run out of thunder and lightning!"
posted by loquacious at 1:40 PM on January 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


loquacious: "All I see is one honey string"

A honey torus.
posted by boo_radley at 1:44 PM on January 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Awesome. Korean street sweets are fantastic.

Bungeoppang (Carp-shaped sweet waffles). PPongtwigi (Puffed rice cakes - it's onomatopoeic).

My dad tells a great story about how in his poor little village the highlight of every schoolkid's week was when the puffed rice man came to town on his circuit. He pushed a cart into town, calling "puffed rice, puffed rice!" The cart had a jerry-rigged machine on it, built of an old tank or metal drum of some kind, a revolving blade inside, pressure gauges, and a firebox. All the kids would bring a handful or even just a few grains of rice begged from the kitchen at home. He'd pour in the grains, some sand, and malt sugar, affix a net to the end of the spout, and let the kids watch as the pressure mounted inside the tank. Then he'd bellow at them all to run as far as they could and they'd watch from a safe distance as he opened a hatch, the air rushed into the chamber, and all the puffed rice poured out of the spout and into the waiting mesh with one loud BOOM.

I'm not positive about the food physics of that, but it goes to show you that spectacle and hustling food are never a bad combination, even in dirt-poor farming villages trying to recover from a devastating war. Street sweets for all!
posted by peachfuzz at 1:45 PM on January 6, 2011 [14 favorites]


Dragon Beard is available at The Richmond Night Market in Vancouver. It's good if you like things that make your mouth feel like the inside of the Gobi Desert, it's exactly like what I imagine eating a cats furball with peanuts inside would be like. But sweeter.

These are a better Night Market desert, and the guy that's making them in the video is perhaps the hardest working human on earth.
posted by Keith Talent at 1:45 PM on January 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


You also get more music on 45 rpm record as opposed to 33 rpm record.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 1:48 PM on January 6, 2011


Also PS where omg where can I get the combination spoon/tong/chopstick things the women are using in the video linked under "candy"? -t and I make hundreds of mandu every fall to freeze. OMG WANT.
posted by peachfuzz at 1:52 PM on January 6, 2011


Here's a similar video with noodles.
posted by dolface at 1:52 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


He is a good honey string maker, but his math is horrible!

Yeah, but it's pretty darn good for a street vendor. The average american accountant can barely tally numbers that well. No wonder Koreans have the market on solid-state memory cornered.
posted by GuyZero at 1:55 PM on January 6, 2011


Ah, I was just about to post that, dolface. (Gah, reading what I just wrote makes me feel like a chauvinist noir detective or something.)

Another hand pulled Chinese noodles vid.
posted by kmz at 1:59 PM on January 6, 2011


Honey String ain't got no rhythm. This girl? She's got rhythm.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:59 PM on January 6, 2011 [14 favorites]


I love this kind of impromptu street performance. Plus: delicious candy! One of my favourite moments from visiting Japan was watching them pound mochi in Nara. I had no idea what the hell they were doing and I don't speak any Japanese, but it was still delightful watching the show. And eating the delicious mochi.
posted by Nelson at 2:01 PM on January 6, 2011


That guy is a total STAR. Love him.

One of my favourite moments from visiting Japan was watching them pound mochi in Nara.

Just shot and uploaded a clip the other day you might like to see: sumo wrestlers pounding mochi.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:20 PM on January 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Dragon whiskers, honey skein, and King's Dessert

Name three things you can find in Madonna's panties.
posted by flarbuse at 2:28 PM on January 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love this kind of impromptu street performance.

Impromptu?? Watch all the videos.. everyone does the exact same act.. gets pretty tiresome after the first guy..
posted by ReeMonster at 2:31 PM on January 6, 2011


That was incredibly awesome and to top it off for some reason the video ended with a giant picture of someone's butt.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:47 PM on January 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


This reminds me of floss halva.
posted by hellphish at 2:52 PM on January 6, 2011


I floss with honey string daily. Someday I'll make it into the Big Book of British Smiles.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:00 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


She's got rhythm

Wow. She is my new hero.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:03 PM on January 6, 2011


I've purchased candy from the first street vendor or someone who looks like him. I did not enjoy it, neither did my kids.
posted by stchang at 3:23 PM on January 6, 2011


@peachfuzz -- there's now a company pushing modernized machines to do this inside stores. The Whole Foods in my neighborhood pops them fresh and sells bags of 'em. They're awesome. Though I'm guessing that Whole Foods charges a wee bit more than the Puffed Rice Man in your father's village.
posted by jburka at 3:35 PM on January 6, 2011


It sounds like he and at least two other people in the linked videos are following a set script. They all use the "little by little" phrase when they're starting to work the honey. I'm sure there's a deeply fascinating story of how street candy selling in Korea became standardized.
posted by Nomyte at 4:30 PM on January 6, 2011


> there's now a company pushing modernized machines to do this inside stores.

I visited a Wegmans a couple weeks ago that had one in the health food section, own-branded as "CocoPOP". No flavors, just unsweetened three-grain batter. It was bland, in a rice cakes sort of way. Not bad for crumbling into soup, though.

They wanted somewhere just short of three bucks a bag, conspicuously non-priced until you're at the checkout. So next time I think I'll just get crackers or rice cakes.
posted by ardgedee at 5:15 PM on January 6, 2011


I'm sure there's a deeply fascinating story of how street candy selling in Korea became standardized.

Dragon whisker (or dragon beard) candy has been around for 2000 years in China and has likely causing oohs and ahhhs by the purchasing audience all that time. Probably in a similar way that pizza dough twirling has been an audience pleaser, pulling taffy or the charming sweet nothingness of cotton candy.

I would imagine that a candy called dragon whiskers is more about the fun element than anything else.
posted by nickyskye at 5:30 PM on January 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


That first video makes me homesick for Korea. I love the rhythm of his English. *Jang!*

And a warning for those who have never had this candy: dragon whiskers require careful eating. Do not inhale through the mouth while chewing, unless you want a lungful of dry flour, dry sugar strands, and dry nut dust.
posted by Rora at 5:39 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there like a dragonwhiskers manufacturing college or prep school that all these guys went to? They all do the exact same schpiel. "Honey! very hard! corn starch! very powdery!" It's kind of creepy.
posted by tehloki at 5:43 PM on January 6, 2011


Is there like a dragonwhiskers manufacturing college or prep school that all these guys went to?

Is there a school for all the Italian singing waiters? I don't think it's creepy when people have an innocent schtick, it's just a playful, friendly and entertaining patter. It's like buying fried bread or corn dogs at a fair, it's outdoor food fun.
posted by nickyskye at 6:02 PM on January 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


That man is a delight.

Very yummy!
posted by Gin and Comics at 6:06 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The French Culinary Institute's Cooking Issues blog had a post on Hand-Pulled cotton candy not too long ago. I tried it over the Christmas break; the sugar got too hot, and my very initial forming of the ring was very uneven, which lead to difficulties down the road. But it was easy and interesting to do. A honey-based sugar would probably be quite great, too. I tried extracting some flavor from a dozen star anise in vodka, overnight, into a half-batch as per the recipe in the video, above; there was no discernible change in flavor.
posted by jsled at 7:44 PM on January 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Am I the only geek here who got annoyed that he truncated 16,384 to 16,000?
posted by schwa at 8:42 PM on January 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Is this the kind of thing that will taste terrible if I find it packaged at an import store? Do I have to wait until I find some freshly made to get the best experience?
posted by amtho at 9:09 PM on January 6, 2011


I don't understand where all the honey goes. That's a big arsed lump of honey. At the end, it's a tiny, wispy little candy that's mostly air. What happened to the initial mass?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 10:51 PM on January 6, 2011


Never mind - making of link shows that one puck of hard candy makes multiple whiskers candies.

Do they use real honey in Korea, or is it the same maltose-sugar toffee shown in the making of link?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:34 AM on January 7, 2011


Ho obiwanasabi (such a fun username), I think honey is one of those words like silk, that's misused and often replaced by something artificial. So yeah, I think in Korea they use the maltose-vinegar-sugar.

But maybe 2000 years ago in ancient China or Persia, where I've learned by jsled's contributtion to this thread, that dragon's beard was called fairy floss, honey was used. Perhaps one of those science geeky chefs can figure out a new practical chemistry for this recipe using actual honey?
posted by nickyskye at 12:38 PM on January 7, 2011


*Hi obiwanasabi (smacks forehead for not prereading)
posted by nickyskye at 4:02 PM on January 7, 2011


We have a "Dragon Beard Candy Master" here in Montreal's Chinatown who has a tiny street-front shop on de la Gauchetiere street. They are made fresh everyday and you can often watch them making them right in front of you.

Montreal Dragon's Beard Candy article

Johnny Chin has apparently learned his spiel in multiple languages, the better to cater to all the tourists. Here he is doing it mostly in Spanish:

Video of Johnny Chin making Dragon's Beard Candy

They sell them for 75¢ each or a package of 6 for $4.00 Cdn. So if you ever make it to Montreal, go and check them out!
posted by Jade Dragon at 5:59 PM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Way too late to get into the thread, but peachfuzz's story about puffed rice (爆米花) makes me want to share my dad's story about candy hawkers in his youth. Apparently the candy (called pear-candy-cake) isn't as distinguished a product as dragon whiskers candy (龙须糖), but the vendors had better patter -- in fact, they would tell serialized legends/historical stories to attract a young audience and sell candy in between the story segments. The stories were mostly about famous military generals and their battles, and it's funny to imagine those Chinese candy men as Homer. My dad said that he got to listen to large chunks of Legends of the Three Kingdom (三国演义) this way.
posted by of strange foe at 3:40 PM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


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