July 23, 2014

Haw Flake Candy 山楂餅

Haw Flakes, 山楂餅, haw, candy, chinese, traditional
By Published: 2014-07-23
You know how there are certain things that you loved when you were a little kid, things that to everyone else was just a 'meh' sort of thing, but to you (and you alone!) this thing was so cool and so special!  Well, the other day I stumbled on a package of Haw Flakes, or 山楂餅, and it was like deja vu right to that little kid state of mind.  Haw Flakes was one of my all time favorite treats when I was a still a wee lass!

Haw Flakes, 山楂餅, haw, candy, chinese, traditional

I loved these candies because of their special super cool (in my eyes) packaging.  Perfectly round and flat and thin wafers wrapped carefully inside a bright red paper tube of paper that you had to peel off to get at the deliciously melt in your mouth flakes of sugary tart goodness.  The very first time I ever saw these Haw Flakes candies,  I somehow visually connected it to the allure and mystery of chinese fire crackers in my little girl's mind and thus the legend of Haw Flakes was cemented forever for me.  There is also nothing so fun and engaging as a candy that you need serious! paper ripping skills to open and consume correctly and that prolongs the sweet treat experience by presenting itself in thin and seemingly endless wafers.  Fun for hours and hours!

Haw Flakes, 山楂餅, haw, candy, chinese, traditional

Luckily the good folks who make Haw Flakes have not made the mistake of modernizing their packaging (like so many of their peers.)  These beloved treats look exactly like they have always looked, right down to the flimsy paper packing inside and the way that the individual Haw Flakes tend to stick together, needing your expert and practiced flip of the fingernail to separate.  What a wonderful feeling to chance upon a childhood treat and find that it has come back to your loving attention unchanged by the passage of time!

Haw Flakes, 山楂餅, haw, candy, chinese, traditional

Not only are these Haw Flakes a delicious blast from the past, but apparently one can make a knock out sweet and sour sauce by using haw, which is of course the main ingredient in Haw Flakes.  Haw is a the extract of the Chinese hawthorn, which is the berry fruit of, you guessed it, the Chinese Hawthorn Tree.  Seriously, though, I have heard from sources that the original chinese sweet and sour sauce used haw on the sour side to create some really delicious flavor.  This is a definite must try for us so stay tuned for Sweet and Sour Haw Sauce!

Psst...if you're having a hard time finding these delicious wafers, you can get Haw Flakes here.


Crataegus pinnatifida fruit, Yongin.jpg
The Chinese Hawthorn Tree

More delicious Sweet Recipes at The Hong Kong Cookery:

10 comments:

  1. Wow! What a sweet trip through memory lane. Haw flakes strikes a nice balance of sweet and tartness. Another candy I like are Horlicks malt candy. I wonder if they stop making them because I haven't any luck finding them in the Asian markets.

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    1. Hey, I think I've had those before! I believe they are still around. I must have a look for them and report back! ~ellen

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    2. Yes, I found the Horlicks Malties! They are definitely still around in HK. ~ellen

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    3. Oh! You are so lucky! Hong Kong definitely have everything! In my quest for them here in Massachusetts all I can find are the Horlicks drink mixes which tastes just as I remember as a kid,but haven't found . Thanks Ellen for your update. My search continues.....

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  2. Even though haw flakes are found in the candy aisles, are they really considered candy, since the Chinese name for is is haw flake cookie? In addition to the haw flakes, I especially like the White Rabbit candies, and now my little girl does too. Sorry anonymous, I haven't found any Horlicks malties either.

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    1. Humm...I've always thought of them as candies myself but I suppose it is kinda like a really thin waferish cookie. We love White Rabbit candies too! ~ellen

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  3. I am not Chinese and no memories.... but i was given a few packets of these by a friend few days ago. And i have to agree the packing totally impressed me. I felt like a kid... happily ripping the paper off :).

    And the candy/ waffer itself was sweet enough and light. Loved it.

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    1. You have just made a pretty good memory, me thinks! Kudos for you ~ellen

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  4. I had the delight of tasting these for the first time today ... they were left by my wife's Malaysian relatives (who had transited through Hong Kong en route). They are just as you said -- wonderfully sweet but also tart, not too sweet. Very nice!

    But here in dry California the disks did not stick together. Maybe they do in damper, more humid locales?

    Mike in San Jose.

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    1. Hi Mike - So glad that you could finally try Haw Flakes! They are quite yum, yum, aren't they? I think you might be right on the humidity affecting them in the sticky department. Thanks for writing in! ~ellen

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