冰糖葫蘆 or Candy Hawthorn

Zoom in picture of Candy Hawthorns

It is still very common, even to this day, to send children to China so parents can focus on earning a wage without worrying about daycare. My siblings and I were not exempted from such fate; we were in the care of our grandparents in Fuzhou, China when I was first introduced to such a sentimental treat. Candy hawthorn reminisces my brief years of childhood in Fuzhou, China. 

Candy hawthorns are rare; they are only available during certain occasions, events, or seasons. In the mean time, preserved slices of circular hawthorn flakes were more readily available. Not only were they delicious, they claim to offer many health benefits. As a young child, the caramelized sugar was more than enough to bribe my little brain to love the Fujianese culture.

I remember missing candy hawthorn when I returned to Hong Kong for kindergarten. Years later, before the return of Hong Kong to China which forced my family to immigrate to the United States, I spotted a familiar silhouette on East Broadway of New York City. It was under the Manhattan Bridge that I first noticed a friendly middle-aged male holding a sturdy wooden sculpture full of freshly caramelized candy hawthorns sticking out. This brings back such nostalgic memories of Fuzhou that I could not help myself but to purchase a dozen! 

East Broadway is known to be occupied by the Fujianese while the Canal Street by the Cantonese. Although these streets do not cross one another, candy hawthorn marked the journey where I embrace the two different cultures. 

Place(s): NYC, USA, Fuzhou, China, Hong Kong
Year: 1997

– Shuk King Cheng

Relationship:  Im/migrant who arrived as a child Im/migrant who arrived as a child