Film by Emma Marie Chiang with assistance from Martin Peter Bustamante

Produced by Chinatown Community Development Center

Chinatown Sweets and Pastries Exhibit at 41 Ross Alley in San Francisco Chinatown from January 24 - February 24, 2019.


DRAGON PAPA’s owner hopes to “introduce dragon beard candy and its story to more and more people.” As a fifth-generation candy maker who learned the skill at age nine, owner Derek Tam left his career as an engineer to open up shop in Chinatown serving his family’s specialty, dragon beard candy. Originally associated with the Chinese Imperial Court during the Han Dynasty, dragon beard candy got its name from an emperor who was reminded of a long-flowing dragon’s beard when he watched a chef stretch stringy, sticky strands of molasses into long paper-thin strands before being wrapped neatly around a bundle of crushed peanuts. From the window of Dragon Papa, residents and visitors can watch the whole process of making this traditional sweet.  Derek remarks, “The best part is seeing customers eating candy in front of the store, with smiles on their faces and beards flowing from their mouths.”  

Signature items: Handmade dragon beard candy, hard ginger candy, and mochi.

Established: 2016
Proprietor: Derek Tam

Address: 752 Grant Ave. / 752 都板街

Hours: 12-8:30pm

Phone: (415) 539-7728