I saw a video of a street vendor making dragon's beard candy in Korea and at the beginning he started with what he described as a block of "fermented honey two weeks" and a bowl of corn starch:

solid honey

The honey is quite solid, like a lump of plastic (he knocked it against the walls of the display stand).

How is it that he obtained solid honey?

I have read that honey will rapidly crystallize if it is unpasteurized. Is that what this is? Raw, unpasteurized honey, that has been allowed to sit for two weeks?

3 Answers 3


I've imported a dragon beard candy product from Hong Kong in the increasingly-distant past. The company I worked with used a maltose-based solution that had been boiled (wheat germ sugar). They'd typically heat the puck in a microwave or hot water bath before shaping the dragon beard candy so that it would be soft enough to work, but still have the tensile strength to hold together while stretching and pulling.

I would seriously doubt that uncooked honey, even fermented, would be sufficient to obtain the structure required for dragon beard candy. What honey does provide, though, assuming this is 100% honey, is a good mix of fructose, maltose and glucose to help control crystallization as it cools. It's not clear to me whether that vendor (I presume you're referring to the one in Insadong) "ferments" the honey before or after boiling, but I expect they would have fermented it beforehand. This is likely to affect the ratio of sugars present and maybe result in a bit of alcohol, but there are several mechanisms possible to ferment honey, including raw honey.

I'm not sure how critical the fermentation step is for a honey-based dragon beard candy; for a wheat germ based or barley-based sugar, the amylase reaction is essentially what yields the maltose (since otherwise you're just eating the grain germ).

In any event, ultimately the boiling step is what controls the crystallization needed to produce dragon beard candy. Thanks to some combination of trade secrets and language issues, I never learned with absolute certainty whether traditional dragon beard candy is boiled to soft crack to hard crack stage, though I'm inclined to believe the versions for which storage is possible reach something very close to hard crack stage and therefore need the softening step.

For what it's worth, I've done the hand-stretching process with the guidance of the master confectioner of the dragon beard candy company and it's quite stiff. Attempts at duplicating it at home with my own sugar solution had mixed results; it does take some experimentation (or training) to get it right.


Freeze it. I thought I heard him say "very cold" in his dialogue. Im making it in the morning, and letting it freeze over night tonight. I will let you know how it goes.


Most recipes you find for dragons beard candy call for granulated sugar, corn syrup, and vinegar to be boiled in water. It could be that fermented honey has everything nessecary to replace the sugar, corn syrup, and vinegar.

Note that fermented honey is not crystallized honey. You can buy it, or I'm sure there are recipes somewhere online. Also fermented honey is a non alcoholic fermentation, like vinegar, which is probably why it has whatever vinegar adds to the recipe. Futher I already know plain honey can be used to replace sugar and/or corn syrup in baking. That's why I conclude that fermented can replace 3 of the 4 ingredients in dragon's beard candy.

One last thing rather you follow the online recipe, use fermented honey, or use plain honey and vinegar you need the temperature to reach soft crack. If you go to hard crack it won't work.

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