Halloween Candy

I bought some White Rabbit Candy and Haw Flakes to hand out for Halloween. “Kids are going to teepee our place if they get weird Chinese candy,” Joe scoffed. Joe got some Reese’s cups to be on the safe side. Marcella’s mom had a sensible suggestion. “Why don’t you put the candy in separate bowls, and let the kids pick?”

By handing out Chinese candy, I was going to make a statement and test a theory. (A) I wanted to be different, because typically most people hand out stuff like Snickers, Kit Kat, Reese’s, mainstream American candy. I’m Chinese, so I wanted to hand out something Chinese, but still ‘accessible’ and ‘user-friendly’. I decided against preseved olives or dried plums (chan pei mui) (B) We live in a very ethnically diverse community, with a lot of Chinese people. Chinese people would recognize Haw Flakes and White Rabbit candy. Some non-Chinese people might also recognize them. Let’s see how many. (C) For people who didn’t know what they were, they would now be introduced to it. Whether they trusted it enough to eat it (‘How do I know this stuff isn’t tainted?”), well, that was beyond my control.

In case you’re not familiar with Haw Flakes and White Rabbit Candy, they’re Chinese childhood classics. Haw Flakes are made of hawthorn berries and sugar. Conceptually, they’re like fruit-roll ups. In form, they are dry coins (biscuit-like texture), sweet and tangy (not as tart as Sweetarts). My Thai friend Cherry knew them as ‘penny candy’. They usually come in short cyclinders wrapped in yellow and red paper, whick look like firecrackers.

White Rabbit candy is a chewy milk caramel. The candy is encased in rice paper, which is edible and has no flavour. The rice paper is to ensure the candy doesn’t stick to the candy wrapper, which is blue/white/orange paper. (Don’t you hate it when you have to scrape off tiny bits of wrapper fluff from candy with your nails?)

So what happened on Halloween night? Roughly 20 kids came by. Few of them were Asian. Only two of them, fairy-angel-ballerinas replete with blond hair, didn’t know what the Chinese candy were, but took some anyway, open to experimentation. The rest of them, said things like “Cool, Rabbit Candy, I’ve had that before,” or “Oh, Haw Flakes! Firecracker candy.” Overall 2/3s took the Chinese candy, 1/3 the Reese’s. Joe’s happy though, more leftovers for him. He loves Reese’s. I’m fond of them too.

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11 thoughts on “Halloween Candy

  1. wow, hawthorne berries, sugar and artificial coloring.
    I always wondered what Haw was made out of or was short for.

    Thanks for the great article!

  2. My kids just got some haw candy for Halloween from a Chinese neighbor. I didn’t know what it was either. When I read the package that said “ingredients: haw and sugar” that didn’t help. So thanks for the info about haw. We all thought it tasted like a dry fruit roll-up. My kids loved it! I teach foreign language, so I’m always open to new cultures. How interesting!

  3. We just bought some Haw Flakes and White Rabbit at the store, ironically. My Chinese friend gave me White Rabbit candy before, so I’ve heard of it and tried it but I’ve never had Haw Flakes, and I didn’t know what it was made of until now. Thanks for the info!

  4. You can get these kinds of candy at Chinese or large Asian supermarkets or grocery stores. Also check out the Chinese-style candy-storee/snack shops that sell not only candies but dried fruits and beek jerky in bins, by weight(often found in Asian strip malls). If there aren’t any near where you live, you could probably find them at online Asian grocers.
    Good luck.

  5. I Love Haw flakes!! BUT Just wanted to mention I was at Chinese grocery yesturday and found White Rabbit candies in what the proprietor told me was “New” flavors: coconut and strawberry. Bought some coconut and they’re fabulous! 1st time I’ve had any other than standard milk caramel flavor!

  6. I just tried haw flakes candy from my store (The Berkeley Bowl) and really liked it. 39 cents for ten little packages of slightly sour, chewy discs, each about the size of a nickel.

    I didn’t get he White Rabbit milk chews, or the Botan rice candies, but got some delicious Ting Ting Jahe ginger chews from Indonesia.

  7. I just tried haw flakes candy from my store (The Berkeley Bowl) and really liked it. 39 cents for ten little packages of slightly sour, chewy discs, each about the size of a nickel.

    I didn’t get the White Rabbit milk chews, or the Botan rice candies, but got some delicious Ting Ting Jahe ginger chews from Indonesia.

  8. Just got a variant of haw candy from a co-worker. Instead of disk or flake form, it was like a fruit roll-up about 3/4 inch high and 1/2 inch diameter, wrapped in clear plastic (not edible). Took it & said “thanks”, but being vegetarian (absolutely NO gelatin, sea life or meats) was a little concerned about ingredients. Thanks for the info: haw, sugar, salt: how much simpler can it get? Will now try the candy without fear.

    I love tangy foods, and regularly look for dried salt prunes (or plums) and tamarind candy. I think I’m adding another fav to my list! ; )

  9. I LOVE that candy very much. A child hood novelty from back in Indonesia. I eat them devotely…lol… as long as the local asian grocery store stock them I guess. I prefer the old style one, espc when they’re fused together because of age or moisture.

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