Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dragon whisker video on Zester Daily

Have you ever wanted to eat candy pulled into threads so fine that they looked like gossamer? 

No? Well, neither did I. At least not until Chef Kam Wo Au of The Kitchen in Millbrae, CA, presented me with a box of what looked like silkworm cocoons. Unable to figure out what they were, I opened up the box and touched one.

Not in the least sticky, these dainty looking strands packed a powerful tensile punch that puzzled me. I couldn't figure out how in the world they had been formed and hadn't a clue as to what they were made out of. I could see a golden sand spilling out of one end, and a quick taste told me this was roasted sesame seeds, toasted peanuts, and sugar. 

So I picked up one of the cocoons and took a bite.

The Chinese have a saying for what happened: rukou jihua, literally "enter the mouth and immediately melt." All those slender strands just disappeared, leaving behind only a breath of sweetness and a small pile of that glorious golden sand on my tongue.

Dragon Whisker Candy, or longxutang 龍鬚糖, is the name of these impossibly beautiful treats. Little more than thickened corn syrup dusted in steamed cornstarch, Chef Au proudly told me that he had learned how to make these candies during a visit to Beijing, where longxutang had been served long ago to the imperial family. 

Himself a native of Hong Kong, Au is a master of traditional Cantonese banquet cuisine, but here he took a northern delight and brought it to our western shores. Recently posted on, a link to this video is posted again here so you can see for yourself what magic can be produced from the simplest of ingredients...