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Haw (as in Haw Flakes)

I love haw (hawthornberries; 'shan zha') and wonder whether it's available here (e.g., in Chinatown) in any form other than candy flakes, fruit roll-up, and juice. Does it exist, like tamarind, say, as a paste? Or a powdered drink? Or as a dried fruit (like Chinese dried/salted plums)? My palate wants more haw.

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  1. By the way, sugar-coated haw-on-a-stick (pinyin: bing tang hu lu -- literally, ice-candy-popsicle) was a popular street-snack in Beijing. Is that available here anywhere?

    2 Replies
    1. re: sequins

      I've seen some sugar-coated haw on a stick in manhattan's Chinatown but mostly in the East Broadway ,Fuzhou part of the Chinatown.

      The Chinese Shuan1 Mei2 Tang1 (preserved plum juice) usually has haw in it, as well as Chinese herbs. It's very familiar to the taste of the Tamarind in the Tamarind soda (Mexican soda), but more smoky and rich. You can get the concentrate in Chinese Grocery stores. In the summer it's easier to get them house-made.

      I just found some haw flakes while in last month I haven't had in a long time. They were pale and thicker(1/8th ins) than the usual thin flakes, and had a more complex flavor. They haven't been available in the States for a long time now, at least 20 years.

      Haw on its own is not too flavorful. I have had Haw Jam, (though can't remember where) that taste a lot like Rose Hips Jam.

      1. re: HLing

        Haw-on-a-stick: would you happen to remember whether you saw it in a shop (or shops) on E. Broadway, or from a street vendor?

        Several years ago I also found some thicker haw flakes, but those were large rectangles and a bit off in flavor. The version you mention sounds delicious.

        It's nice to know that haw jam existed somewhere, at some point. I have some rose-hips jam in the fridge -- will have some and think of haw.

        Thank you!

    2. check groceries in ctown. japanese groceries sometimes carry them as well.

      3 Replies
      1. re: nyufoodie

        By 'them,' you mean haw in what form exactly?

          1. re: nyufoodie

            Thanks -- I love haw flakes but am looking for some weirder incarnations of haw. (Not that flake-form isn't weird.)

      2. you might be interested to know that Dogfish Head brewery in Delaware produced a beer based on the contents of 9000 year old Chinese pottery shards, from hawthorne berries, rice, barley, honey and chrysanthemum. Chateau Jiahu, available at American Thrifty on Court St in Carroll Gardens, maybe also at New Beer Chrystie at Delancey.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kenito799

          Oh my. That sounds freaking exquisite. I will certainly track it down. Thanks for the tip!

        2. They sell haw (shan zha) in its dried form in the herbal shops of Chinatown. It's pretty sour. For medicinal purposes, it's used for things such as high cholesterol, food stagnation. About eating it on its own, it's too dry and sour for that. However you can steep it in hot water for tea. It will probably taste better sweetened.

            1. Hong Kong snack shop Aji Ichiban in Chinatown sells an enormous variety of haw snacks. They have little bowls of the snacks so you can taste before you buy. There are a couple of locations in Chinatown: the first one was at Mott and Pell but I think there is another on East Broadway and another on Grand.

              As well as haw snacks, Aji Ichiban has various plum and sweet olive based snacks, all of them somewhat perplexing to my Western tastebuds although a friend of mine loves these plums which look as if they are coated in hay but actually it is tiny bits of licorice. The taste is dissonant yet makes you crave more.

              But Aji Ichiban is only one example - look on Hester Street for another Chinese snack shop whose name I have forgotten. Also, all of the Chinese groceries along Grand Street have haw snacks too - I like HK Manpolo which has several locations.

              4 Replies
              1. re: plum

                Wow, I've never even seen that place. Sounds like a veritable emporium of haw. I'll definitely check it out, as well as peer around that part of Chinatown for similar shops.

                1. re: plum

                  My favorite is the sugar coated haw balls (maybe a little smaller than a malted milk ball). I've noticed that some of the Aji Ichibans carry this while others don't, so you might have to check the different locations. There's another location off on Canal, I believe on Centre St.

                  1. re: Chandavkl

                    Are these balls slightly doughier than the flakes, but quite similar in taste otherwise? If so, I think I've had them -- perhaps from a brand called 'Globus'? -- but thank you for the reminder! I'd completely forgot about this form and would love to try another batch.

                    1. re: sequins

                      Never thought of the haw balls as being doughy. There's a fairly hard outer covering and a softer core that's a little darker in color than the exterior. Tastes like haw flakes, only better since there's more to eat.

                2. I also saw dried Haw Fruit at Tongin Mart on Mott. A big bag of it...FYI.

                  1. I'm not sure if this is the haw-on-a-stick thing that you guys are talking about, but I bought something on a stick being sold by a woman under the Manhattan bridge in front of the entrance to the mall. There were 3 or 4 walnut-sized red balls on the stick and they each had a bunch of brown tear-drop shaped seeds in the middle. The balls tasted sweet and sour, plummy, a little bit salty and were coated in a hard layer of some kind of sugar candy. It was wrapped in a sheet of edible rice paper and cost $1.

                    The lady had a few kinds of interesting looking candied balls on sticks. I have since seen red ones like those that I bought being sold by some of the vendors selling phone cards under the bridge.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bolletje

                      Wow, this sounds like it exactly. Thanks so much for posting this. I will go look under the bridge!