Hawaii Dried Plum, or Li Hing Mui, is a beloved childhood snack for many local kids in Hawaii. It's triple punch combination of salty/sweet/sour is an acquired taste for many who haven't grown up eating it.
For those of us who have, the very thought of it makes one's mouth water and pucker up. We love it so much in Hawai'i that we put it on everything, chocolate, gummy bears, popcorn and even in cocktail drinks!
As kids, we would go to the crackseed store and stare longingly into huge jars filled with crackseed, li hing mui, wasabi peas, arare/kakimochi/mochi crunch, pickle mango, rock salt plum, dry ika (cuttlefish) and more, just hoping our mom or dad would buy us a bag or two of whatever we wanted at the time!
In Taiwan, the plum is called 酸梅 suān méi, and the powder that gives them that distinct flavor is called 梅子粉 méizi fěn.
I wasn't totally surprised to see it here when I first arrived, since we all grow up knowing that Hawai'i got this snack from Chinese immigrants in the 1800's. Still, it's pretty strange to see jars and jars of this stuff sold at night markets when I've only ever seen it sold in Hawai'i.
Every once in a while, I get an insane craving for a taste of this familiar snack. I'll go down the street to the traditional Taiwanese night-market and pick out a selection for about $1 a bag, a reasonable price for a quick trip down memory lane.
I will usually have some once a week, in fact, I'm enjoying a bag of this stuff right now, Taiwanese-kine of course.
Have you ever had li hing mui? Did you like it?
If you would like to try a taste of this uniquely Asian/Hawaiian snack, you don't have to wait for your trip to the islands. There are a few websites that cater to Hawaiians living abroad, and they will ship globally. Check out sites like Islander Gifts or Hawaii Snacks for just a couple of options.
LOCAL HAWAII RECIPE: Pickle Mango Mui
Below is a recipe video of "Pickle Mango Mui", an iconic Hawaiian childhood snack, da kine stuff we all used to eat small kid time!
Check it out, try the recipe, and let me know how it turns out in the comments below...
I'm JR. I come from a long line of adventurers, some were nomadic explorers of the sea and others wandering cultivators of the earth. Ultimately, this legacy of drifters has deeply affected my view of travel. Read more...