冰糖葫芦一串串 Candied haws on a stick
In winter, on the streets and alleyways of old Beijing, vendors call out, “Candied haws, candied haws…” The Spring Festival is the best time for selling candied haws. From the first to the fifteenth of the first lunar month, people crowd in the temple fairs in Changdian, on the Glass Street outside Hepingmen, where candied haws can be seen everywhere.
The traditional method of making candied haws is to string wild fruits on bamboo sticks and then dip them in malt syrup. The malt syrup turns hard as soon as it is exposed to the air, creating the crispy and sweet sugar-coated haws. The wild fruits used are mostly haws. But now there have been innovations made, such as sugar-coated strawberries, bananas, oranges, honey dates, cashews, bean pastes, chestnuts, chocolate, and milk-flavored sugar-coated haws.
Seeing these red sugar-coated haws, many people think back on their childhoods. That sour and sweet taste represents the most precious days of youth.