Candy canes and gingerbread men might get all the love when it comes to sating your sweet tooth with Christmas candy, but it’s worth heading down to Chinatown to discover the tasty traditional Chinese sweet that resembles wintry, snow-covered logs: Yao’s Dragon Beard Candy.
Yao’s stand is usually located at the corner of Chrystie and Grand, just outside of the subway exit, although sometimes it’s parked at Bowery and Canal or Canal and Mott (part of the fun is the chance discovery of the cart). For $3, you get six little logs, which are made by pulling powdered sugar until wispy hairs are formed. Once enough strands are formed, they’re wound together in a ball and twisted around a sweet mixture of crushed peanuts and coconut. The nuggets are slightly chewy, sort of like a cross between cotton candy and salt-water taffy, but not as sweet as either of the two, and possess just a slight crunch from the nuts. They’re also highly messy, showering chins with a fine dusting of white powder. Store these tasty babies in the refrigerator before serving at whatever holiday party you’ll be throwing/attending this weekend — that is, if you have any left by the time you get home.