tang cong (糖蔥)
Chinese. ‘Sugar shallot’ or ‘onion candy’.
Name of a Chinese-Taiwanese confectionary made from liquid sugar or syrup, which
is poured out in a
that floats on boiling water.
The wok is turned around on the boiling surface making the liquid spread to the
sides, where it dries into a soft chewy substance, which is loosened from the
sides and folded back into the centre of the wok. This process is repeated
several times until a large gold-coloured lump of a caramel-like substance is
obtained. This lump is then folded over a hook and stretched out by forcefully
pulling and swinging it around in the air by hand, over and over again, somewhat akin to dough or chewing gum
being stretched out, each time folding the extra obtained lengthy part together,
twist it around, and repeating the action, sometimes using ones own weight to
pull the strands, in order to ease this heavy task with the aid of gravity. This makes the lump become ever longer and thinner, while
its colour gradually changes into a shiny off-white. Eventually, the
strand is no longer folded back but stretched even further, to a long
string measuring several meters in length. This is then hung over a wooden stick and
cut into small pieces resembling shallots, hence the name. The snack was
invented in Taiwan during the island's Japanese occupation, when the latter
banned the locals from keeping their own
instead confiscating it and
shipping it back to Japan. Hence, the local population set out to
find a way to disguise the sugar by changing its appearance, and in doing so
created this form of candy.