I am simply appalled that no one has noded Haw Flakes before now. Oh well. More glory for me.

How best to describe Haw Flakes?

Let's start with the numbers:

Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 1 Roll (12.5g)
Servings Per Bag: 10
Total Fat: 0g
Saturated Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 0mg
Total Carbohydrate: 5g
Dietary Fiber: 0g
Sugar: 4g
Protein: 0g
Vitamin A: 0g
Vitamin C: 0g
Calcium: 0g
Iron: 1g

And the ingredients:
Haw, sugar, water, U.S.A. FD&C Red#40

And the instructions for care:
Store in a cool dry place, away from direct sunlight.
Quality Good For: 3 years. Packed By: Yantai Foodstuffs 1/E Corp., Shandong, China.

What does this tell us of the nature, the essence of such a mysterious things as Haw Flakes? Not much. It's food...sort of. Candy...sort of. It's definitely edible (by which I mean it hasn't killed me yet, and I've been snacking on it all afternoon) and tasty (by which I mean that I am not seized with a burning need to spit it out. In fact, I find the taste rather pleasant).

Imagine a Necco wafer, only thinner, orangey-tan, with a rougher texture and more bendy. Imagine the flavor of a Necco wafer...Haw Flakes are like that except entirely different: fruity with hints of peach and perhaps even orange all blended together.

The best thing about Haw Flakes is their packaging. Unlike most foods available in the US, these are packaged in paper rolls, seemingly sealed with haw juices, as the flakes at either end of the roll are typically welded to the paper. The whole thing smacks of illegal fireworks, which is why putting in your mouth, and chewing up, Haw Flakes is such a good idea (compared to doing the same with fireworks...don't try this at home).

I am informed by several of the websites singing the praises of Haw Flakes that haw is the fruit of the hawthorne tree. I have no idea if this is true or not, but it makes an excellent argument in favor of eating them...they're made of fruit! Everyone needs fruit.

Haw Flakes are not made from the flowers of the hawthorn tree, but are made from the berries. The Hawthorn has berries called haw, and even the wrapper of the candy has a picture of a branch of the tree. The berries are mashed up, sugared, and then made into the little wafers. According to a few sources, the tree looks a lot like the holly tree, but the hawthorn tree only makes berries in the fall.

The three main brands that produce Haw Flakes are Bamboo Brand, Sunflower Brand, and Happiness Brand (which is made by Yantai Foodstuffs). According to this source: http://www.fda.gov/ora/oasis/12/ora_oasis_i_07.html, Haw Flakes have actually been banned by the FDA in Hong Kong.

You can buy Haw Flakes at most Asian supermarkets, or online at the following location: http://www.quickspice.com/cgi-bin/SoftCart.exe/scstore/snack-hawflake.shtml?E+scstore. They really are quite tasty and have a flavor similar to dried apple. Apparently there is such a thing as haw jelly, as well.

Sources:
http://asiagrocery.com/haw.html
http://www.etymonline.com/

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