On a street in Beijing, an elderly Chinese man blows into a hollow lump of hot, melted sugar. A minute or two later, he holds a bunny. Or a giraffe. Or a goldfish. All are shaped via the traditional art of sugar blowing, an increasingly rare sight on the streets of China.

Like glass blowing, the sugar version involves inflating a molten blob into a bubble, then shaping it before it cools. Sugar blowers tend to make animals, with creatures from the Chinese zodiac—dragons, rabbits, pigs, and monkeys—being especially popular. Though the finished creations are edible, they are considered to be art rather than food.

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