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Fine spun sugar threads wrapped around a sweet filling of ground peanuts, sesame, coconut, and chocolate.

Night and day, passersby stop to watch the elderly gentleman behind this little stand on Le Gauchetere in Montreal’s Chinese quarter as he spins sugar dough into long white threads and wraps them ever so carefully around the filling of this wonderful candy. There is something amazing about the fact that he does just this one thing all the time, taking such obvious care with each and every piece.

A sign sitting on the counter reads: “This unusual candy was once made only for the emperors of China during state banquets.  Dragons are a Chinese imperial symbol, and since the emporer’s candy resembles a long white beard, it came to be called ‘Dragon’s Beard Candy’.”

The emperor’s candy also tastes like a beard, but in a good way. It looks a little like cotton candy, but it’s actually quite different. It doesn’t melt like cotton candy, and it isn’t as sweet. It is crunchier than you might expect, and a little harder to eat –  and for a moment there, you might even question whether or not it is actually meant to be eaten. But once you get past that point – which is kind of thrilling –  the sugar threads blend into the delicious sweet peanut, chocolate, sesame, and coconut filling, and before you know it the experience is over and you are ready to try one of these delicious sweets again.  Which is why I recommend picking up a box of six ($4.00) as opposed to tasting just one.

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