Dragon’s beard candy: Ancient recipe goes viral, becoming TikTok’s latest culinary craze

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Dragon’s beard candy, an ancient Chinese delicacy, has become one of the latest viral food trends within TikTok’s culinary community.

With just a few basic ingredients and a little bit of practice, you can whip up this historic confection in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Read on to discover the secrets behind pulling sugar strands like a pro.

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Here’s everything you need to know.

What is dragon’s beard candy?

Dragon’s beard candy is a sweet treat known for its intricate, thread-like appearance and melt-in-your-mouth texture.

It shares similarities in appearance and texture with cotton candy.

The sugary confection requires a labor-intensive preparation method involving repeated stretching and folding.

What is the history of dragon’s beard candy?

Dragon’s beard candy is a traditional Chinese sweet that dates back thousands of years. Its exact origins are unknown, but it is believed to have originated nearly 2,000 years ago during the Han dynasty.

Legend says that the dragon’s beard candy was first crafted by court chefs in the imperial palace as a delicacy for the emperor and the royal family, according to Atlas Obscura.

The sweet treat was reserved exclusively for royalty and the wealthy elite due to its extensive preparation process. It was considered a symbol of luxury and sophistication.

Dragon's beard candy

Dragon’s beard candy is a sweet treat known for its intricate, thread-like appearance and melt-in-your-mouth texture. (Rivata Dutta)

The candy has since gained popularity beyond the imperial court. 

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It is now a beloved delicacy throughout China, especially during festive occasions such as Lunar New Year celebrations.

How did dragon’s beard candy get its name?

The name of dragon’s beard candy is derived from its appearance, which resembles the wispy beard of a dragon.

Dragons hold a significant place in Chinese culture, often symbolizing power, strength and good fortune.

The mythical creatures are also one of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac and are said to represent leadership qualities.

People gather around a large dragon figure

The name of dragon’s beard candy is derived from its appearance, which resembles the wispy beard of a dragon. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Dragon’s beard candy, aside from being a tasty treat, also serves as a homage to the country’s rich heritage.

Why is dragon’s beard candy trending?

Digital creator Rivata Dutta, known as Riv, has garnered more than 21 million views for her videos documenting the process of making dragon’s beard candy on her TikTok channel “rivovershares.”

The Los Angeles-based Dutta, who said she got the recipe idea from another TikTok creator named Avery Cyrus, told Fox News Digital that she believes the food trend stems from the challenge of getting the sweet treat to one million strands.

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“I think people really want to see you be able to get to a whole nice even number,” Dutta said. 

“The audience really likes counting along and knowing that the next number is going to come along. That’s why I can never watch half of those videos, because I’m like, now I need to know what number they got to. Like, if it’s a good number that satisfies my brain or not.”

The culinary trend’s popularity aligns with people’s interest in watching food being prepared in a visually appealing way, she said. 

What is the recipe for dragon’s beard candy?

To prepare her dragon’s beard candy, Dutta told Fox News Digital that she combined sugar, corn syrup, vinegar and water in a medium-sized pot.

She recommended the following measurements:

  • 1 tablespoon of white vinegar
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2½ tablespoons of corn syrup
  • ½ cup of water

Dutta then whisked the ingredients together and heated the pot on the stove.

Woman holds homeade dragon's beard candy

Digital creator Rivata Dutta, known as Riv, has garnered more than 21 million views for her videos documenting the process of making dragon’s beard candy on her TikTok channel “rivovershares.” (Rivata Dutta)

She inserted a candy thermometer into the pot and waited for it to reach the hard-ball stage, which falls between 250 F and 265 F.

Once the syrup reaches the right temperature, it’s poured onto a flat, cornstarch-covered surface and allowed to cool slightly.

The syrup must be pulled and stretched repeatedly to create fine strands.

Dutta told Fox News Digital that the best piece of advice she could offer to those who want to try their hand at making the confection is to wait for the mixture to cool down completely.

“It’s better if you forget about it,” Dutta said. “But don’t forget about it long enough that it becomes as hard as a rock.”

Once the mixture cools, the syrup must be pulled and stretched repeatedly to create fine strands.

Woman making dragon's beard candy

After the syrup has been stretched into fine strands and twisted into multiple layers, it should be coated with a dusting of cornstarch to prevent sticking. (Rivata Dutta)

These strands are then twisted and folded to form multiple layers.

After the syrup has been stretched into fine strands and twisted into multiple layers, it should be coated with a dusting cornstarch to prevent sticking.

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Once coated, the candy can be cut into bite-sized pieces and served immediately or stored in an airtight container for later enjoyment.

With patience and practice, virtually anyone can master the art of creating this historic treat.

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