Snacks – A Love Hate Relationship Chinese Style


Snacks a love hate relationship the Chinese style. China is not only a country with profound history with cities like Beijing known for its ancient architectures and prosperous economy. China is also known for its cuisine. I liked this fun fact that The mortar used to bind the Great Wall’s stones was made with sticky rice! Please comment below to let us know what you think.

White Rabbit Candy. One of the most ubiquitous candies in China, almost every Chinese kid has munched on them at some point. Chinese grandparents often have a supply specifically to give to their grandchildren. Don’t try to take off the rice-wrapping layer around the main body of the candy because it’s supposed to be eaten with the candy and completely edible! It may be tough to chew at first, but if you keep chewing at this small cylindrically shaped candy your mouth will quickly be filled with the taste of vanilla. Warning: This nougat-like candy can become incredibly sticky in your teeth, so make sure to keep water handy while you’re eating these, and brush your teeth thoroughly afterwards.

Andrew Zimmern likens its smell to “a dead thing left in a dumpster on a hot summer’s night”.

But in Taipei, stinky tofu is a national treasure.

The smellier, the better, according to experts, which explains why it’s typically a street food; those who try cooking it at home will likely be evicted.

The popular fermented snack earns its killer stench from its fermentation process: once the bean curd is drowned in decomposed vegetable matter, it can take weeks to ferment.

Once fermented, stinky tofu can be stewed or braised, but throughout Taiwan, it’s most commonly deep-fried into crisp golden pillows.

After it’s drained, chefs (or more commonly, street vendors) cut a hole in the top of each cube with chopsticks to let the sauce sink right into it. This punchy topping is often a mix of sesame oil, vinegar, cucumber and pickled Chinese cabbage. Chilli sauce and minced garlic finish things off.

These thin, Frisbee-like candies are made from the haw, or the fruit of the Chinese hawthorn tree. The haw is a pretty versatile fruit, which can be eaten fresh, used in soups or sweet dishes, or even as a medicinal ingredient. However, they are best known for the candied version – a staple snack of many Malaysian childhoods.

In some parts of America, haw flakes have taken on a new use: conmen have discovered they are exactly the right shape and thickness to fool parking meters! Haw flakes were also traditionally given to children for the de-worming of parasites from the digestive tract. Best not to dwell on that next time you eat a haw flake.

Sweet, chewy, and fruity, Open-Face Pineapple Tarts are one of the most popular Chinese New Year snacks. The tarts available in the local shops are loaded with fat and sugar. Candied Pineapple Chunks offer a chewy and fruity alternative which is almost fat-free.

When the daily final bell rang at my elementary school in China, my friends and I would run out of the school gates to see if the sugar figurine man showed up.

If he did, we knew we were in for a sweet treat.

For 1-2 块 (kuài)  (15 – 30 cents in the US)—affordable even for a third-grader’s budget—the 糖人 (táng rén)  man created magic with sugar.

We’d stand back, and watch him dip a bamboo stick into golden melted sugar, and quickly twist and shape the gooey lump into horses, birds, butterflies, even people. He had to work fast, or else the sugar would harden.

There are a dwindling number of artisans still making sugar figurines by hand. The price has definitely gone up since my school days, but the magic of sugar art has certainly remained.

A good sugar figurine will be as much art as it is food, but the sweet smell of the sugar usually tempts you to gobble away your “art” in no time.

Shelly Shenbei is a delicious snack that you can enjoy anytime. Its sweet and savory flavor is irresistible. The rice cracker is baked not fried, and is topped with a light frosting and has a crispy crunch that is sure to please. Shelly Shenbei comes in three flavors, original, seaweed, and teriyaki.

One of the most popular street foods in China, it is a savoury pancake that is often eaten for breakfast. Similar to a crepe, it is made-to-order and slathered with both hoi sin and chilli sauce before a variety of fillings such as vegetables, eggs and meat are added.

Our vegetarian jian bing ($3) arrived piping hot in a paper bag and filled with ingredients such as lettuce, spring onions, thin potato strips and a piece of youtiao, or dough fritter. We especially loved the contrast between the thin chewy pancake and crunchy vegetable fillings.

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