Haw Flakes

Haw Flakes: Delicious Chinese Treat

If you love Chinese sweets, this is one that you really have to try out. This is a very unusual Chinese treat and you might have trouble finding it in your local area. Thankfully, you can order all of these kinds of products online these days so that you can enjoy this unique candy with ease if you wish. The packaging, as well as the candy itself, are both creative which makes this a really fun eating experience if you have never tried this kind of snack.

Haw Flakes might make you think that you are going to be getting a cereal to try but this is actually a disc-shaped candy that is 2 millimeters thick. This is a sweet and tangy snack that is often served to children and with tea in various parts of China. If you are ready to learn some more about this unique treat, you need to keep reading!

Please leave a review or any memories of this snack in the comments at the bottom of this page. Thank you!

Haw Flakes


This Chinese treat is often served with tea or it is given to kids. This is a simple disc-shaped candy that is about 2 millimeters thick. It comes in a small roll and it is tangy and slightly sweet. This is the kind of snack that many people in other countries would think of as more like a cracker as far as shape and texture, but this is a snack that is actually sweet and it is flavored like a dessert. Haw Flakes are also known by the Cantonese name, Sahn Sah Ban.

The texture of this treat is a bit like a gummy cracker or wafer and some people say that they taste like guava or an apricot. The discs are pliable and slightly sticky, which reminds some people of very thin and flexible Lifesavers. If they get too warm, these snacks can melt together into a gummy mess inside the wrapper, but most people are aware of this risk and keep their Haw Flakes out of the sun or away from the hot car.

The product is made by mashing up the hawthorn berry and mixing it with sugar. This mash is then pressed into discs and then packaged into rolls. The rolls look a little like coin rolls and the little wafers are packed tightly into the wrappers. This candy actually does not stick to the inside of the wrapper and there are rarely issues with the wrappers sticking to the candies either which can be nice. Many people complain about this issue with other roll-style snacks, but you can trust Haw Flakes not to let you down here.

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People who ate this treat as children will tell you that they either peeled each candy off the roll and ate it by itself or they might have been in the group that broke the roll into chunks of three or four discs apiece to crunch up. There is no wrong way to eat these treats and you can choose to snack on them in any manner that you wish.

There are Gourmet versions of this snack as well, and the different packaging options tell you which kind of treat is which. This is a product that is often sold in colorful little packages that have larger lettering on them and bright colors. They might almost look like fireworks to American audiences. You might have even seen these snacks in the grocery store where you live but you might not have known what they were due to their packaging.

There are about 15 of these little treats in each roll and many people say that they are sort of like crossing a Fruit Roll-Up With a Necco Wafer. The slightly flaky texture of this treat is also really unique for a sweet treat like this. The process of getting into this kind of snack is also a little like unrolling some Lifesavers.

In some countries, these candies are used to make jellies and other products. In the US, they are often just sold as a standalone snack. The fruit which is used to make them is from a small crabapple tree and this makes for the really unique flavor and texture of the snack. This is also why this product makes a really good item for jellies.

Haw Flakes Have actually been seized by the US from time to time due to issues that the FDA felt made them unsafe for consumption. The floor of the product has been an issue in the past due to the fact that it was created by Ponceau 4R which includes Brilliant Scarlet, Cochineal Red A, and other versions of red dyes that are not allowed in the US. Any product that is made with these beetles is no longer allowed in the US and even Starbucks has had to change some of their recipes to make allowances for this ingredient being made illegal.

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Haw Flakes are no longer made with these dyes, so they can again be sold in the US without issue. You will still see them on shelves as this issue has been resolved once and for all. This is a very inexpensive candy as well, which can make them a great choice for people who want to have sweets that are not sugary and that are not going to break the bank.

What is a Haw?

Haw flakes and haw itself might seem confusing. What is this mystery item? The Haw, as mentioned before, is a reference to the hawthorn tree which is a thornapple bush, or a crabtree as they are commonly known in the US. The haw plant is what makes for the unique color of this treat as well as the texture and flavor and this candy is a spin-off of a much older treat.

The hawthorn tree is used extensively in Chinese medicine. This candy product came from a bunch of other products that were used to provide medicinal support for various ailments. The hawthorn tree does not seem like something that would yield any kind of delicious or enjoyable products, but when combined with sugar, you end up with Haw Flakes.

The original use of hawthorn berries was to make digestive aids. This might still be a risk of eating too many of these snacks and you should be aware that you could give yourself an upset stomach if you eat too many of your Haw Flakes treats. Not everyone is impacted this way, but you should be aware of this risk just in case you are one of those folks.

Of course, the original products which were made with the berries of this tree were likely not very enjoyable to ingest, the Haw Flakes treat is delightful and yummy. In the US, these plants are often used for ornamentation in the yard, so this can seem like the most unlikely place to have sourced berries for eating or for making into things like jam. In China, Korea, and Mongolia, people actually commonly eat the berries raw but they also use them for other products all the time.

Are Haw Flakes Sold Elsewhere?

Haw Flakes are sold in many Asian countries where the hawthorn berry is used for all kinds of snacks, jams, and just for eating. They are also sold in the US, but the market is not that much different from the market that is buying them in Asian countries. Expats who have moved to the US will often buy these treats but they are not sold in most regular grocery stores.

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This is a bit of a shame because these snacks are so well-known and popular in other markets due to an awareness of the hawthorn berry and its usefulness. While there are some fruits that might not be as delightful to those who did not grow up eating them- Durian Fruit comes to mind- the hawthorn berry is actually a really lovely berry that could easily be sold in the US grocery stores if people were interested in eating them.

This is actually a very nutritious berry as well, which makes it even more of a shame that the US market is so unaware of the berry or the products that are made with it. This might be your first time trying this snack, but you will fall in love with the hawthorn berry and Haw Flakes. You might even want to try and grow your own hawthorn trees!


Haw Flakes Logo


This is a very simple product which can seem really surprising when you see what the ingredients are in many sweets that are sold today.

  • Haw
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • FD&C Red #40

Imagine if all the products sold in the US were this simple! This is a very healthy snack overall and one that it would be nice to see more candy companies making. This is a product that is a lot like fruit leather, which is another simple snack that is not very unhealthy.


Serving Size:1.9 oz (55g)% Daily Value*
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat0
Total Fat0g0%
Saturated Fat0g0%
Trans Fat0g
Total Carbohydrates25g8%
Dietary Fiber0g0%
Vitamin A0%
Vitamin C16%
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


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What are Haw Flakes?

Haw flakes are Chinese sweets made from the fruit of the Chinese hawthorn. 

Please leave a review or any memories of this snack in the comments below. Thank you!

Click here for a full A-Z list of Snacks and Candy

One Comment

  1. I really liked this! I couldn’t find that much information about hawflakes elsewhere. I kinda wished this article included when hawflakes were first made/sold, and more about the production company. 😀

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