Haw Haw Haw

 

Buying hawthorn skewers in Hohhot, China.

Buying hawthorn skewers in Hohhot, China.

 

Haw candies are the food of nostalgia. The Chinese hawthorn, a tree fruit which ripens in late autumn, gets pounded, frozen, and stretched into dozens of different confections. People wax longingly about the paper rolls of haw flakes their parents gave them as kids, or the hawthorn skewers coated in caramelized sugar sold on wintry Beijing and Shanghai streets. I, too, miss those skewers, and I was way over five when I had my first.

There’s plenty of good haw candies stateside. I picked up a variety the other week, and only now have the time to introduce them to you. (Not that I didn’t dig in before.) All of the candies have a melt-in-your-mouth texture, and don’t cling to teeth the way gummies or Fruit Roll-Ups do.

 

Haw flakes, unwrapped.

Haw flakes, unwrapped.

 

 

Haw flakes, wrapped.

Haw flakes, wrapped.

 

Haw flakes are thin discs of hawthorn and sugar. They often come in colorful paper rolls, but I couldn’t find those last week. These are also a bit bigger than they usually come. You could easily eat an entire package by yourself, so beware.

 

Haw roll, unwrapped.

Haw roll, unwrapped.

 

The haw rolls are my personal favorite. They are thicker than the flakes, and have a round, warm mouth feel. They’re almost like Fruit Leather, but less chewy. These are bite-sized, unlike a long ones I usually find. I prefer them bigger, so I can savor them for longer. I’ve unrolled them before, but you can just bite right into it as-is.

 

Hawburger, wrapped.

Hawburger, wrapped.

 

This was my first encounter with “hawburgers”. Don’t let the name scare you. They are triple-decker sandwiches of flake and roll. They have a deliciously thick bite. I ate two just writing this post. In fact, you should really watch out with all of these candies, because the touch of tart and sweet make it hard have just one.