The History of Li Hing Mui
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
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.
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