With modern convenience stores popping up left, right, and centre around Hong Kong, many si doh (traditional tuck shops) have no choice but to shut down, taking with them a myriad of local sweets and snacks that all Hongkongers once loved in their childhood. Luckily, you can still get most of these treats in supermarkets, online shops, or at one of the few remaining si doh in Hong Kong. Here are some of the most popular ones that you might want to add to your shopping list. Get ready to walk down memory lane…
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Making it to the top of our list is, of course, White Rabbit. Wrapped in a classic white, blue, and red wax paper, these chewy milky sweets will stick to your teeth so hard that you might end up pulling your fillings out—but it’s well worth the risk. For those trying them for the first time, don’t worry about the thin film of rice paper wrapped around the candy, because it’s edible and actually there to prevent the candy from melting into the wrapper. Genius!
Photo courtesy of @nem__zzz
Ding Ding Candy
Made from melted malt sugar, Ding Ding Candy is a classic sugary treat that definitely hits home. After the melted sugar has cooled down, the mixture is then stretched repeatedly into a long, thin shape before it solidifies into a white, biscuit-like texture. The candy then gets broken into pieces with a small chisel and hammer for easier packaging, making a crisp “Ding! Ding!” sound with every hit—which explains the name. There are only a few places left that sell this nostalgic sweet, but you can try looking for them at your local wet market, or if you’re lucky enough, you’ll come across one of the last few remaining street vendors in areas such as Tsim Sha Tsui, Sham Shui Po, Mong Kok, Kwai Chung, or even Yuen Long.
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Photo courtesy of Lingsik
Honey Lemon Tea Candy
Now, we know these may not look like much, but Honey Lemon Tea Candy is a must-have sweet confection for candy trading in any school playground (do kids still do that?). Although the logo design has changed over time, its bright yellow packaging still remains the same, reminding us of the time when $1 could buy us a handful of these bad boys. Nowadays, you will usually see them sitting in a bowl at the front desk of a doctor’s office, hotel, or even at the check-in counter at the airport—if you’re lucky!
Photo courtesy of lingsik
Is it a toy? A piece of candy? Or an instrument? Well, why not all three? Whistle Candy is a fun sugary treat that is adored by kids (and adults) of all ages. Simply hold the piece of candy upright between your lips, blow through the hole, and a loud whistling sound will be made. And don’t forget about the tiny toy gift nestled inside the paper box. We’re stilling holding out for that plastic motorbike…
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Photo courtesy of 90後六團火_
Tattoo Sticker Bubble Gum
For around $0.50, you can get yourself one of these sweet, sugary bubble gums, and the best part about it? The wrapper. While there are different wrappers with various cartoon characters, every single one will come with a tattoo sticker on the inside, with the most original being the Japanese cartoon character, Ultraman. Unfortunately, they are very hard to find these days, but you can always try your luck at a traditional convenience store, newspaper stand, or wet market.
Ice Gem Biscuits
As our personal favourite sweet snack, forgive us if we’re a little biased towards this one. Not only do these tiny, bite-sized biscuits with different coloured icing drops taste delicious, they’re also dangerously addictive. There are a few different ways to eat these; some like popping a big handful in one go, while others prefer to nibble on the icing first before eating the biscuit (or maybe just ditching the biscuit altogether), or better yet, try crushing everything up into tiny pieces inside the packet, and start digging away with your spoon like cereal (we certainly wouldn’t mind having it for breakfast!).
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Photo courtesy of unwire_hk
Bubble Candy definitely strikes a nostalgic chord for most Hongkongers. Back when Jumpin’ Gym USA was the most popular place to be, all you could think about was what prizes you wanted to exchange for a handful of game tokens that you had just won. But apart from that, the brightly coloured candy claw machine was one of the most popular games to play. Filled with bucketloads of fizzy Bubble Candy, these machines were relatively easy to get the hang of, meaning you were almost guaranteed to win a handful of them every time! Sadly, there are no more candy claw machines at Jumpin’ Gym, but you can still find these sweeties in most supermarkets and Aji Ichiban stores.
Photo courtesy of Tastetokyoblog
Pop Rocks Candy Floss
Everyone loves pop rocks, but when you add candy floss into the mix, it’s a whole different story. A bite into this iconic sugary confection will have you smiling and wincing all at the same time as the sweet cotton candy begins to melt away, and the crackling pop rocks start to take over your tongue! The most popular flavours are grape and cola, and luckily, these are still pretty popular so you can find them pretty much in any supermarkets or convenience stores.
If you have ever had Chinese herbal medicine, then we are sure you’re no stranger to hawthorn flakes. As its name would suggest, hawthorn flakes are made of, well, hawthorns, a Chinese fruit that is used in many traditional desserts. Compressed into small bite-sized discs, the pale pink, almost light brown candy is usually packaged into a short cylindrical stack to replicate Chinese fireworks. Sweet with a slightly tangy taste, this popular snack is usually enjoyed after drinking bitter traditional herbal broths to take the edge off, but they are also great just on their own. Perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth without overloading on sugar.