What am I eating?
October 1, 2009 1:20 PM   Subscribe

A coworker brought us two boxes of sweet-ish treats from China. She doesn't know what they are either.

We're not overly worried about the ingredients, we just want to know a little bit about what we're putting in our mouths. Traditional Chinese foods? New-fangled stuff they only sell to tourists? How are they made? What are they called, are they meant to be part of any special meal/holiday/celebration, etc.

The first box (although I may have inadvertently switched the boxes and their original contents) are little (maybe 1" square?) white things that look like unbaked biscuits, although they are hard and have a texture like shredded wheat. Or maybe it's something spun? Very little flavor, very slightly sweet. Front of box here. Back of box here.

The second box held numerous rolled treats, some coated in sesame seeds. No filling. Hard, but not really crunchy. Too sticky to be crunchy. More flavorful than the others. Most of them have been eaten, but you can see one still in there. Front of box here. Back of box here.
posted by Jaie to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm pretty sure that the first thing is dragon's beard candy.
posted by mhum at 1:23 PM on October 1, 2009

That link should be this. However, I'm not so sure anymore -- dragon's beard is noticeably sweet.
posted by mhum at 1:24 PM on October 1, 2009

In the top corner, the letter Q is a quality mark of some sort. There's a number underneath it. I googled that number and came up with this website (English). It's #7 on the table, and the first row is the company name. Googling in English gives nothing, but googling in the native language gives a lot of hits, but these seem to be the company's candy.

I think this one might be the white candy, although the drawing is a little different. The middle tab gives the ingredients. Running it through Babelfish, I get this translation: "Principal constituent: Wheat flour, white granulated sugar, malt sugar". So, I think it's dragon's beard candy.

Is the second one this (contents, not drawing)? If so, the Babelfish translation is: "Principal constituent: : Sesame seed kernel, wheat flour, white granulated sugar, malt sugar". I don't know what that would be called, but I've had a similar-looking candy. It is super-sticky (like, pulls on your teeth and fillings). I've always called it "black sesame candy" but I'm sure there's a real name for it. I see it in Chinese grocery stores here, near this candy, which is apparently called Sesame Peanut Candy, but I call AMAZING.
posted by Houstonian at 2:49 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

Did the boxes get switched somehow? The characters on top of the second box (龙须酥) do translate to "dragon's beard candy," but that would apply to the contents of first box (with the white candy) rather than the contents of the second box (which clearly has the black sesame candy inside it). So if the boxes were switched, this would support ID'ing the first box's contents as dragon's beard candy.

I would also call the Sesame Peanut Candy AMAZING. It's one of my faves.
posted by cobwebberies at 3:08 PM on October 1, 2009

I forgot to add...

The name of the first one is 龙须酥 . Looking at the google images gives an idea, and one picture is also named "dragon's beard".

The name of the second one is 芝麻酥 . The Babelfish translation is "sesame seed crisp".
posted by Houstonian at 3:16 PM on October 1, 2009

I'm just guessing in this answer based on my sketchy knowledge of characters acquired while failing to master Japanese, so take what I say with a grain of salt. Here goes!:

I think the boxes have definitely been switched. You can see in the picture Houstonian posted that the white candy should be in the box with the lantern-carrying child. The sesame coated things are supposed to be in the box with the purple-robed child.

The first two characters of the product name on the box with the purple-clad child seem to mean 'egg roll'. Obviously, it's NOT what we would think of as an egg roll, but if you google the product name from this box, it brings up lots of pictures of boxes with the same characters and the English words 'egg roll' on them. Here's some examples: 1 2 3 4. So obviously Chinese food companies think this is called an 'egg roll' in English, even if it's not. Just from looking at the pictures I've posted, they look kind of like rolled wafers, but that doesn't completely match up with the description you posted. But they're definitely the same shape as your sesame treat, despite not being sesame-coated.

The second set of characters on the ingredients list for the so-called egg rolls looks like 果仁, which a quick Googling would suggest just means 'nuts' in general. I guess sesame seeds are a kind of nut. So, they're rolled treats made with egg and coated with sesame. Sounds delish.
posted by eatyourcellphone at 3:57 PM on October 1, 2009

Oh, and if you check 'egg roll' on Wikipedia, it describes the kind of egg roll you'd get as an appetizer in a Chinese restaurant, but then goes on to say 'In mainland China, many Chinese-speaking regions of Asia, and Chinese immigrant communities around the world, egg roll is predominantly referred to as the egg-based, flute-shaped pastry, with typically yellowish, flaky crust often eaten as a sweet snack or dessert commonly eaten by Asians.'
posted by eatyourcellphone at 4:03 PM on October 1, 2009

I agree that the second one seems to be an egg roll (although I've never seen one coated in sesame).
posted by pemberkins at 5:45 AM on October 2, 2009

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