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Chinese? rock sugar

chocolatetartguy Feb 18, 2011 04:00 PM

Had an urge to make guy don cha (chicken egg in sweet tea) and am running low on long-stored supplies.

Is rock sugar, something I have to by in Ctown or can it be purchased at your friendly neighborhood specialty grocery, like Andronico's in the SF Bay Area?

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  1. paulj RE: chocolatetartguy Feb 18, 2011 04:06 PM

    It's nothing very special. Any Asian grocery will carry it. Palm sugar would substitute, or Mexican piloncillo (though that is darker, with a strong molasses taste).

    4 Replies
    1. re: paulj
      ipsedixit RE: paulj Feb 18, 2011 04:24 PM

      Dunno about Palm sugar but pilonicllo is a bad substitute for rock sugar. Rock sugar is neutral in taste, pilonicllo is most definitely not.

      Just like you would not freely substitute regular sugar with white sugar, I would not substitute rock with pilonicillo.

      1. re: ipsedixit
        paulj RE: ipsedixit Feb 18, 2011 04:30 PM

        I may be confusing rock sugar with the saw cut slabs of mild brown sugar I get from Chinese groceries. I did note that piloncillo has a stronger molasses. But if you really want a neutral taste, why not just use white sugar?

        1. re: paulj
          ipsedixit RE: paulj Feb 18, 2011 04:36 PM

          Chinese rock sugar is basically white, crystals of sugar (see pic).

          It is used more for the appearance it imparts on food and less for the taste. It gives food a translucent and almost shiny look to it.

          If all you care about is taste, then white sugar is a perfectly fine substitute.

          (FYI, the slabs of mild brown sugar you see in some Chinese markets is simply brown sugar slabs, very similar to piloncillo)

          1. re: ipsedixit
            chocolatetartguy RE: ipsedixit Feb 18, 2011 04:57 PM

            Yes that's it. I found small jars of rock sugar and loose jasmine tea in my cupboard that I had years ago rescued from my mother's cupboard.

            I would go to Ctown for the aesthetics, except that I have torn muscles in my calf and walking is not what the doctor ordered.

            As I recall, the egg whites were kind of chewy and stained a dark brown by the tea. I think I made a mistake in trying to cook the "perfect" boiled egg instead of blasting it with heat to toughen the white. I also recall the yoke being on the dry side so that it made the tea milky when broken up in the bowl.

    2. ipsedixit RE: chocolatetartguy Feb 18, 2011 04:26 PM

      If you don't have rock sugar just use regular white sugar.

      Use approx. 1 tablespoon of regular sugar for reach 1 inch. rock sugar crystal piece.

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