Sugar-coated haws, also known as sugar gourd, is a traditional Chinese snack made from hawthorn skewered on bamboo sticks and dipped in maltose syrup, hardening rapidly in the wind.


The ancient practice of sugar-coated haws began in the Song Dynasty and has been recorded throughout history. It is a popular snack for all ages, with its delicious, nourishing, intellectual, fatigue-eliminating and heat-clearing effects. Whenever you mention sugar-coated haws, many people can recall their childhood, the sour and sweet taste of which is still fresh in their minds.
In the early years of Beijing’s Spring Festival temple fairs, it was not uncommon to see long strings of sugar gourds, with a small banner attached to the top and a hundred or so hawthorn berries on one line, bent by the red fruit and held in hand with a trembling bamboo stick, adding to the festive atmosphere. In the middle of winter, both in the city and in the countryside, there are always people selling hawthorn on carts or shoulders. The red hawthorn is particularly attractive under the sugar coating. Surrounded by small and large girls, they each buy one and take a bite, crunchy and sour with a sweet taste on their lips.
In people’s minds, sugar-coated haws is a snack for children, usually one yuan a piece. The taste is single, and occasionally, when you eat one, you can always come across a sticky one that is not technically sound, and you always feel that there is nothing to eat. But in recent years, the old Beijing-style sugar-coated haws have emerged with a wide variety of flavours, carefully selected raw materials, and clean and hygienic paper bag packaging to quickly win the love of the general public, a time when the queue of bidding for the phenomenon has not seen for many years. This kind of sugar-coated haws in the choice of raw materials hawthorn, pick hawthorn production area in the sour slightly sweet quality hawthorn as the main material. It is complemented by various fillings, dried fruits, fruits and other auxiliary ingredients to make a variety of flavours of sandwich sugar-coated haws. The glutinous rice paper-wrapped skewers and kraft paper bags are packaged cleanly and hygienically, improving the sugar-coated haws’ quality. This has helped to retain a large number of repeat customers. The consumer group has expanded from children to adults and the elderly, some of whom travel long distances to get their hands on a piece of sugar-coated haws.


Production method
Ingredients: sugar, hawthorn, bamboo sticks and cooking oil.
The process: first, put the sugar into a pot and add clean water to soak through the sugar. Then stir while heating, stop mixing when the sugar liquid in the bank is boiling, and continue to heat up over low heat. When the pot has a splintering sound, dip a chopstick into the cold water to cool the sugar mixture. At this point, you can put the pre-dressed hawthorn skewers into the sugar pan, roll them around to stick to the sugar liquid, take them out and place them on a wooden board smeared with edible vegetable oil and drop them with a force so that they have an obvious large sugar slice and are very beautiful. After cooling for five minutes, they can be removed. The hawthorn can be pitted or unpitted; you can make fancy iced gourds by cutting a knife into the hawthorn and sandwiching in peanuts, apples, or walnuts.
How to make sugar-coated haws at home:
1, Wash the hawthorn, cut in its waist with a knife in a circle to the seeds, break it open with your hands and pick it with the tip of the blade. The seeds will come out in a string with a bamboo skewer;
2, Put water and sugar in a pot, the ratio is 5:3 simmering on low heat, constantly stirring, wait until the sugar turns yellow, and you can pick out long strands with chopsticks, i.e. turn the skewers around to stick to the sugar;
3: Place the sugar-sweetened skewers immediately on a white iron plate sprinkled with sesame seeds, leave to cool and remove.
This method can make grapes, oranges, bananas, sliced monkeys, strawberries, papaya, dragonfruit, gaining, begonias, mushrooms, etc.
This method can make sugarplums with meat, sliced steamed buns, etc.


Emperor Guangzong of the Southern Song Dynasty was Zhao Dun, and his year was Shaoxi. During the reign of Shaoxi, Huang Guifei, the favourite of Emperor Guangzong, fell ill. Her face was yellow and thin, and she did not feel like eating. The imperial physicians used many expensive medicines, but they had no effect. When the Emperor saw that his beloved concubine was getting haggard, he was also worried all day. Finally, he had no choice but to open a list to seek medical help. For Huang Guifei’s pulse, a charlatan in the palace said: “as long as ice sugar and red fruit (i.e. hawthorn) decoction, eat five to ten before each meal, within half a month. The disease will be seen.” At first, we are still sceptical, but this way of eating is also suitable for the taste of your consort, your consort according to this method after taking, and indeed as expected healed. The Emperor was naturally delighted, and his frown was lifted. Later, this practice spread to the people, the common people strung it up and sold it, and it became sugar-coated haws.
Beijing’s sugar-coated haws were most prevalent during the Republican era. In the old capital, sugar gourds varied in thickness and grade and were sold differently in different regions. There were several types, in food shops, in the refreshment department of parks or in the cinema, that were often sold in glass-covered white porcelain plates, with exquisite production and wide varieties, including mountain red, white begonia, water chestnut, yam, orange and various kinds of sugar gourds with bean paste, melon seeds and sesame seeds added to the filling.


Studies have proven that sweetcorn is also popular for its lipid-lowering and serum cholesterol-lowering effects. There are also many different kinds of sweet and sour food. However, the sweet and sour taste of the sweet and sour gourd is still a popular food today. This product is rich in vitamin C, pectin, and organic phosphorus, modern technology to remove the core of the fruit, red colour, no colouring, no food additives, the taste is still good, is a naturally nutritious food. It has many medicinal properties. It can eliminate food stagnation, disperse blood, drive away worms, and stop dysentery, especially to help digestion, since ancient times as an important medicine to eliminate food stagnation, especially for the elimination of meat stagnation. Perhaps it was because of the illness caused by the accumulation of food and seafood eaten by Princess Huang Guifei that the small hawthorn relieved the pain. Li Shizhen, a distinguished medical scientist of the Ming Dynasty, also once said, “Cook old chicken hard meat, into the hawthorn a few that is easy to rot, then its elimination to the accumulation of merit, cover can be pushed forward.”
This practice later spread to the people, who then strung it up and sold it and became sugar-coated haws. Hawthorn has many medicinal properties. It can eliminate food stagnation, disperse bruises, drive away tapeworms, stop dysentery, and help digestion. It has been an important medicine for eliminating food stagnation since ancient times, especially for meat stagnation. Perhaps it was because of the illness caused by the accumulation of food and seafood eaten by Princess Huang Guifei, but a little hawthorn relieved the pain. Li Shizhen was a distinguished medical scientist of the Ming Dynasty. He stated that if you cook an old chicken with hard meat and add a few pieces of hawthorn, it will be easy to rot. Then its function of eliminating accumulation can be pushed forward.
Today’s research has proved that hawthorn also has the following effects: appetite, brain, skin, kidney, blood lipid and serum cholesterol reduction, thus making it even more popular. Hawthorn food is also very popular and has many different types of food. However, the sweet and sour sugar-coated haws are still a popular and delicious food today.
It is very Beijing food. It is the most original and traditional sweets, handmade and unique, and symbolises a time of leisure and pleasure. In a way, it may even represent a certain simplicity and tranquillity that is not without a sense of history.