Sunday: Abraço, Yao’s Dragon Beard Candy, and THELEwala

Sunday, September 18, 2011 6comments No tags Permalink 0

Yao’s Dragon Beard Candy – more on this below, heeheeh

Thank you, (really, super thank you from the bottom of my heart) for your comments on my last post. Insightful and just so sweet. You made my weekend :) Six years sometimes feels like a lifetime in blogging years, but I truly love every minute of it. It’s just the negative comments and/or emails that occasionally get me down and questioning the type I posts I write. Too frou-frou and superficial, not frou-frou enough? Too indulgent, or simply too ordinary? Too much questioning can drive anyone crazy.

So I think I’ll stop thinking so hard and let things flow naturally. The way they used to…and see where we go from there. Thank you for being such super awesome readers!!! I appreciate you all and don’t think I say that often enough!

This weekend was a slow one. We’re both out with a head cold-ish thing and decided to take it easy. Lots of time indoors though we ventured out today for a walk around the neighborhood. Machiatto at Abraço where we ran into Maggie (Hi Maggie!) and a Berry Jam Scone to share. Unlike any other scone I’ve tasted – in a good way. Cornmeal mixed into the batter gives every bite a slight crunch and the surface is sprinkled with sugar and salt. Can always trust Abraço to bring a little touch of savory to the sweet. Crunchy top and little pockets of berry jam keeps the whole thing moist.

From Abraço we walked down 1st Avenue with plans to stop either the NYC Apple Day festival or the San Gennaro festival. Instead we were distracted by a Chinese festival on Houston Street. So many festivals this weekend! The festival itself wasn’t very interesting, but we did spot Yao’s Dragon Beard Candy, a true NYC legend.

Read Danny’s post on this guy before you go further – excellent photos and step-by-step description on how Yao turns plain sugar into this pillowy soft confection in minutes.

He only comes out when the weather is right – too hot or too cold and the candy won’t form correctly. The man pulling the sugar is Yao and he has a woman (his wife?) that does the packing and selling. If she thinks you’re unfamiliar with dragon beard she explain it as, “sweet vegetarian dim sum.” Definitely doesn’t do it justice.

It looks like heaven! Soft white pillows, a fairytale candy. Shaped like a cocoon, with feathery, thin strands of pulled sugar and an interior of toasted chopped peanuts and coconut. Don’t chew – if you do it will stick to your teeth. Be patient and let it melt in your mouth. So delicate. How many ways to eat this? Serious Eats counts four and I’m partial to the itty bitty bites method where the taste of all the elements seem to be intensified. Six pieces for $3, indulge while fresh because they don’t hold well to moisture. Pierre and I took the box to Whole Foods (plenty upstairs seating at the one across the street) and ate half there, and the other half at home with fresh mint tea.

Off to San Gennaro festival! We got to Mulberry Street and were put off by the sweaty crowds and excess smoke coming from the vendors. The air on the street was visibly cloudy – thanks to grilled sausages, fried oreos, meatballs, and we decided to pass. Off to Soho…where we ran into Matt (Hi Matt!) a friend from Hawai’i. I used to be surprised anytime I’d run into people on the street, but now it feels so normal. NYC is a tiny town.

We walked across Prince Street, stopping at Xocolatti for truffles and spotted rabbits in the boutique next door. Funny how rabbits in a storefront grabs attention. Everyone who passed stopped to stare, to ohh and ahh, then take photos. Myself included.

The Dutch – where we wanted lunch, was packed (as always!) so onwards and up to Pierre’s favorite snack place: THELEwala. Hot Masala Chai and Nizami rolls to share.

That’s the Chicken Malai Roll (chicken, fried eggs, red onions, cumin and coriander)…

…and Lime Paneer Roll (grilled paneer, red onions and coriander) on the left, $5 each. We waited an usually long time for our order – 30 minutes! But it turned out they were making a fresh batch of parathas as they just ran out. Lucky! So worth the wait, flaky, crisp surface with a gentle chew and just oily enough.

Here we are! Heheheh.

Walking home though Washington Square Park. Live jazz on the west end…

…and the piano man near the arches. Ahh Autumn, by far the best season of the year.

86 East 7th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 388-9731

Yao’s Dragon Beard Candy

Around Canal St. and Mott St.
But depends on the weather and day…
…you have to get lucky!

172 Prince Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 256-0332


112 Macdougal Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 614-9100

  • anonymous
    November 30, -0001

    Oh! I envy you most of all for the al fresco music!!!I like M. Pierre's eyebrows!Did all those Indian spices help clear your head?I'm off to Costco for batteries, staples and a berry smoothie!

  • anonymous
    November 30, -0001

    Ahhh, now this is how you used to blog. I'm a long time reader (and never commenter…I'm very bad at that), but read your last post and understood where the reader who emailed you was coming from. You'd lost your…you. I think that is the best way to put it.You're like Robyn from The Girl Who Ate Everything (I know you know her ahaha, but I figured I would clarify in case you know multiple Robyns!). You both have such a…"you" writing style. Your voice is recognizable in your writing, and it makes me feel as though if I met you in person, I would already know you because of how you write. (This is very good…and rarely achieved I've found!)I love reading your blog, and look forward to your posts. This one actually transported me again, like your posts used to more often. :) I didn't realize it was gone until I read this one. (Also, I am quite certain you've never posted a picture of Pierre…and I must say, you two are quite gorgeous together…not that I'm surprised hehe,'s true!)So, I'm glad that you'll continue to write. I always enjoy your posts, and look forward to it!

  • anonymous
    September 19, 2011

    Hey Kathy, Has it been six years of blogging? Wow, I've enjoyed your posting so much that it REALLY doesn't feel like it's been that long! I'm like Katie, also a faithful reader that doesn't comment much. You've definitely matured into a great writer with an acquired knowledge of worldly cuisines! Personally, as long as you have the passion to share your experiences with us, we will continue to read and drool! Aloha,Deanna

  • Julie
    September 19, 2011

    What an awesome and beautiful walk through the city–makes me wish that much more that I'm able to visit some day!

  • Kathy YL Chan
    September 19, 2011

    Hi Soos! Ahh Costco Sundays – I miss those! And all those samples. Have an extra berry smoothie for me please! The spices from THELEwala cleared up any congestion we had…better than medicine heheh. And Pierre says thank you re: eyebrows!! :)Hi Katie! Totally get what you mean! Robyn is a great friend and it was actually her blog that inspired me to start mine. She was an "internet friend" for a few years, and now we're real life friends. One of the unexpected and wonderful benefits of blogging – meeting great people. And thank for the nice word about Pierre – will let him know! :)Hi Deanne! I know, can you believe 6 years? Goes by so fast… Thank you a million for commenting, and continuing to read!!! :)Hi Julie! You should visit NYC! I fell in love with it the first time I came in 80s, and love it even more today :)

  • Ridonkulus
    September 30, 2011

    i hope the dragon beard candy people are there when i visit NYC! after visiting china, i have a renewed interest in Chinese desserts like tongyuen and tongsui (glutinous rice soup dumpling? sweet soup?). chicago has plenty of hong kong bakeries but lacking in other dessert-y cafes. i've been reading your blog ever since blogger recommended it 2 years ago and enjoy your posts. your blog does something that no food magazine can do and that's to tell a personal story. so i hope you keep writing!

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