Candy and Confectionery

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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The Chinese also enjoy what Americans call “candy”: confectionery that is eaten between meals, for pleasure rather than nutrition. Some street vendors specialize in sugar-blowing (chui tang), handling thick malt sugar syrup like Venetian glass, blowing it into animal shapes to the delight of watching children. In Chengdu, peddlers make pictures by drizzling molten caramel onto a board, and picking the flat image up with a wooden stick to make a marvelous lollipop. See sugar painting. Also in Chengdu, itinerant street traders sell “Ding Ding” malt sugar toffee (ding ding tang), announcing their arrival with metal clappers that make the sounds “ding ding dang!”—hence the name. Another spectacle of a sweetmeat is Dragon’s Beard toffee (long xu tang), made like a miniature version of hand-pulled noodles by pulling toffee into hair-thin threads. In Beijing, childhood is often associated with the local equivalent of toffee apples, skewers of red haw fruits dipped in toffee (bing tang hu lu). See toffee. Since the 1950s White Rabbit creamy candies, in their distinctive red, white, and blue packaging, have been the most instantly recognizable commercial Chinese sweet.