Most kids have a sweet tooth, and I was no exception. When I was young, my favorite time of the year was fall when the leaves became brightly colored and the temperature would drop.
This season wouldn’t have been complete without the seasonal specialty, candy apples. These are apples that are covered with sugar candy. But as I grew older, I became less and less interested in eating candy and other sweet foods.
However, every winter in Beijing, there’s one kind of candy that I still like to eat. It’s called tanghulu, a traditional snack that’s made of fruit covered in hard candy, which is very similar to the candy apples of my childhood.
Tanghulu is traditionally made with Chinese hawthorn berries, but many types of fruit can be used to make it. It’s possible to find tanghulu made with oranges, strawberries or blueberries.
Every bite of tanghulu takes me back to my childhood. Enjoying this sweet treat makes me imagine putting up Halloween decorations with my family or playing football with my friends after school.
Yet the more winters I’ve spent in China, the more I’ve learned that Chinese people also attach fond memories to this snack. The combined taste of sweet and tart flavors often transports many nostalgic Chinese people back to their childhood.
For many Beijing residents, tanghulu isn’t only a tasty treat, but also an auspicious symbol and highlight of the traditional temple fairs held during the Lunar New Year holidays.
Tanghulu originally came from northern China, but it can be found in almost every Chinese city these days. It’s even crossed the border into Russia. One tanghulu vendor in Russia sold 8,000 sticks of tanghulu in one day, according to CCTV News.
And in the Russian city of Vladivostok, the deputy mayor is a huge fan of the snack, coming in person to buy it himself from a Chinese vendor in the city named Wang Jialiang, according to Daqing Daily.
So it seems that this sweet treat holds a special place in many people’s hearts. To me, buying a stick of tanghulu certainly makes me feel better if I’m ever feeling homesick.
本文作者：Mike Fuksman, 21st Century Teens Staff (Dale Fox contributed to the story.)