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The History of Li Hing Mui

About 2 year(s) ago by Marina Hawaii Vacations

Tourists new to Hawaii sometimes wonder, “What is that red powder on the rim of my margarita?” Or, “What are those big seeds covered in red dust that people are eating like candy?” Let us enlighten you: It’s li hing mui!


Li hing mui translates from Chinese to mean “traveling plum,” a fitting name for this one-of-a-kind delicacy that travelled all the way from China to Hawaii during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Chinese immigrants brought the idea to the plantations in Hawaii, where they dried plums and created li hing mui. Typically, lin hing is made from pickled plum skins flavored with licorice or prune, salt, and sugar (or a sugar derivative), and then ground into a reddish powder.


The most popular ways to enjoy Li Hing are in the form of li hing crack seed (a cracked plum seed), or sprinkled on fresh, pickled, or dried fruits or gummy candy. You can also find li hing on shave ice, the rim of margaritas, popcorn, malasadas, or even in salad dressings or meat dishes. While it’s sweet and sour flavor tends to complement sweet treats, Hawaiians will put li hing on just about anything—it is a dynamic and unique flavor that pleases the masses! Li hing can even be used as a dye. Prominent brands are “Enjoy, “Asia Trans” and “Jade.” In Hawaii, li hing-flavored treats and powder can easily be found at grocery stores and convenience stores, as well as in most bars (for rimming cocktails). On the mainland some Asian and Polynesian markets carry li hing powder, but if yours doesn’t, you can always order it online. Happy snacking!


Visit http://www.pineappleandcoconut.com/recipes/li-hing-guava-margaritas/ for a delicious li hing guava margarita recipe.



For any questions about Waikiki vacation rentals, please contact Marina Hawaii Vacations and an agent would be happy to assist you. We can be reached at 808-946-0716 or info@marinahawaiivacations.com


Susie Bowman

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