Saqima: The Chinese Rice Krispie Treat

Eggy, melting and just a touch sweet: that’s the perfect saqima. First made by the Manchu for sacrificial offerings, they brought the pastry south when they conquered China in the 17th century. It became a popular snack food on the streets of late imperial Beijing. Now saqimas are eaten everywhere in the Chinese speaking world, including Rockville, Maryland.

 

Saqima.

Buffalo brand saqima.

 

It may look like a rice krispie treat, but a saqima is actually made with noodles rolled in wheat flour, soaked in egg, then fried and sweetened with sugar crystals or honey. It is a soft, greasy square of goodness. I bought the saqimas studded with raisins, but as you can see there are all kinds of novel flavors, like taro (the purple ones) and green tea (the green). Wikipedia tells me the original deal was made with a Manchurian wild berry known as “dog breast”. It’s probably for the best that that’s been phased out.

 

Taro, green tea, raisin, and plain saqima.

Taro, green tea, raisin, and plain saqima.

 

Sadly, I can’t recommend this Taiwanese Buffalo brand I picked up. The saqima clumped and lost its sweetness after the first bite, unlike the buttery taste I remember. If I find a better brand, I’ll let you know. Better yet, tell me if you have a favorite.