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May 14, 2007 10:22 AM

Salted plums, candied olives, preserved, & dried Chinese fruit

A store near me sells bins of Taiwanese preserved fruit … not the bagged stuff

They had way over a dozen types of preserved plums. Just a few: Licorice shu plums, woo long tea plums, sakura plums, mint plums, wine plums, cherry plums, etc, etc

Some other interesting fruits: Star fruit with plum flavor, honey sweet potatoes, licorice lemons with mint, plum guava, dried tomatoes, pretty chili colored honey mango, green sweet and sour mango, rose arbutus, mulberries, hawthorne,

The fire truck red spicy olive tasted nothing like an olive. It had a crisp crunch and was slightly sweet with a mild spice burn. The plain dry olive was neither here nor there ... salty and tangy. The licorice olive ... yeah this mouth puckering, strong flavored olive must be an aquired taste.

They also make this incredible jello-like dessert out of the dried fruit.

Anyway, I can’t find much about this on the web or I don’t know the words to search on.

What gives the dried plums that unique taste … sour and tangy with a tamarind like taste? I saw one mention of dried plum powder maybe adding tang.

The funniest thing I read was that salty plums turn your mouth inside out and are like vegemite (not in taste) … its one of those things you love or hate.

Also, how healthy or unhealthy is this stuff. Am I kidding myself that it is healthy because it is fruit? Or does the sugar/salt negate that?

I’m thinking this is a good low-calorie snack. One piece of preserved fruit goes a long way.

Are these used any other way other than snacks?

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  1. some people put a dried salted plum in soda water with sugar, usually in a vietnamese restaurant. My favorite is the haw candies, any of them. It is very similar in taste to tamarind, but I am not sure if they are related or not. Well, I've been eating this stuff since I was a kid and so have all my relatives, etc. etc. etc.

    3 Replies
    1. re: justagthing

      Haw candies are made from the fruit of hawthorne trees.

      I've heard some of these preserved fruits are good for upset stomach, though if you over do it, you could probably get one. Also, it's said that women tend to prefer the taste of preserved fruit than men, but I've met some guys who love the taste.

      1. re: vsoy

        vsoy, i knew about the hawthorne trees, but i am curious if they are related to tamarind? they taste similar

        1. re: justagthing

          I doubt it. Haw fruit are... well, fruit. They look a little like cherries or small apples. Tamarind is the pulp scraped from the inside of a tamarind pod that looks like a giant, brown, peapod. Not much in common except that they both come from trees.

    2. The treatment of olives is definetly different in asian cuisine. While these kinds of treats are low in bad fat, some of them contain lots of salt or sugar. So you are right they should be consumed in moderation. Some of them are flavored with spices and herbs, like licorice, cardamon, cinnamon, chilis, ginger....... The soft ones tend to be sweet. Try tying pei mui or chan pei mui into google. It's a start

      1. When I was a kid, during family car trips Mom would give us a salted plum to tuck into the back of our mouth whenever one of us started to feel carsick. It really works....

        Mostly I think all those varieties of plums are snacks for those who love sour-salty. I have a friend who tears through bags of preserved ginger everyday. Not for the faint of heart.