The moment you mention Bing Tanghulu or Tanghulu, numerous Chinese people cannot help smiling as their memory of the childhood emerges instantly. Undoubtedly, this kind of snack carries many people’s sweet memories.

Bing Tanghulu, one of the most attractive delicacies in China, radiates eye-catching colors in the streets and alleys of prosperous cities and in the market corners of primitive villages.

Apart from carrying childhood memories, Bingtang hulu is also a symbol of Chinese culture. It represents sweetness and reunion and often appear in important festivals and celebrations.

Moreover, it can be an art to make Bing Tanghulu that requires certain skills and patience, which also makes it one of the representatives of traditional Chinese cuisine.

In this article, you can learn more about different kinds of Bing Tanghulu and the Tanghulu recipes.

Table of Contents

1. What is Bing Tanghulu?

Bing Tanghulu or Tanghulu is a traditional snack of the Han nationality.

It is usually made by stringing fruits (such as hawthorn or strawberry) and nuts on bamboo skewers, dipping them in syrup and then solidifying them in a cool breeze. These fruits are strung on bamboo skewers and wrapped in thick syrup like crystal clear gemstones.

This special production method endows Bing Tanghulu with unique charm.

Due to different materials and unique production methods, the taste of Bing Tanghulu is also very layered.

The outer layer of Bing Tanghulu is sweet but not greasy, and it melts immediately upon entry into your mouth. The taste of the inner layer varies depending on the ingredients, presenting a rich and varied taste that leaves a lasting aftertaste.

In general, Bing Tanghulu not only has excellent taste, but also boasts the functions of appetizer, beauty, fatigue elimination, and heat clearing.

2. The Origin of Tanghulu

As a traditional Chinese snack, the Southern Song Dynasty witnessed the earliest record of Bing Tanghulu.

According to the records, during the reign of Emperor Guangzong of the Southern Song Dynasty, highest-ranking imperial concubine, Zhao Dun’s favorite, fell ill. Therefore, she had a yellow and emaciated face and lacked appetite. The imperial physician used many valuable medicines, but none of them took effects.

The emperor saw his beloved consort pining away day by day, and in the end, he had no choice but to make a public announcement and seek medical treatment.

A quack doctor responded to the announcement and entered the palace.

After diagnosing the pulse of the highest-ranking imperial concubine, he said, “As long as you boil rock sugar and red fruits (namely, hawthorn), eat five to ten before each meal, you will definitely recover within half a month.”

At first, everyone was still skeptical. but after taking the medicine, the noblewoman recovered as scheduled.

The emperor was overjoyed and his frown relaxed. Later, this practice spread to the general public, and people linked it up to sell it, which was how Bing Tanghulu gained popular.

More: Top 10 Hunan Cuisine Dishes You Have to Try

3. 10 Types of Tanghulu

There are many kinds of Tanghulu. Whether it is a traditional classic candied fruit with sugar and water or a distinctive dark cuisine, they all add charm to Bing Tanghulu.

In addition, Bing Tanghulu with local characteristics enhances its diversity.

3.1 Hawthorn Tanghulu

hawthorn tanghulu
(Hawthorn Bing Tanghulu)

Hawthorn Bingtanghulu, originated in the Song Dynasty, is the prototype of various modern sugar balls. After years of inheritance, it has now become one of the indispensable classic delicacies.

Hawthorn has a slightly sour taste, while its sugar coating is sweeter. A slight amount of acidity can balance sweetness, while sweetness can dilute some of the acidity. The perfect combination of the two can better stimulate people’s appetite.

When you take a bite of hawthorn Bingtang hulu, you will first feel the sweetness and crispness of icing. Subsequently, the sour taste of hawthorn gradually emanated, balancing the sweetness and bringing a refreshing taste that lefts a lasting aftertaste.

3.2 Strawberry Tanghulu

strawberry tanghulu
(Strawberry Tanghulu)

Strawberry Bingtang hulu are popular among girls because of their better appearance than ordinary sugarcoated fruits.

This type of Bingtanghulu often uses fresh, juicy and plump strawberries as the main material.

Strawberries is delicious and they have no fruit pits. Coupled with the special flavor of sugar coating, they taste sweet, crispy, juicy, and have a refreshing taste.

However, considering that strawberries are seasonal fruits, this sugar ball is usually only available in winter.

3.3 Orange Bingtanghulu

orange bingtanghulu
(Orange Bing Tanghulu)

Orange Bingtanghulu is an innovative delicacy based on the birth of Hawthorn-flavored Tanghulu.

Its outer layer is frozen rock sugar liquid, covering each piece of orange, presenting a bright luster and transparency, allowing the orange pieces to shine in the sunlight.

Orange slices contain water and taste sour, sweet, and juicy, so Orange Tanghulu has rich tastes.

Of course, you can also choose citrus junos as a substitute, as these two fruits are very similar in taste and appearance.

3.4 Assorted Tanghulu

assorted bingtanghulu
(Assorted Tanghulu)

Assorted Tanghulu, just as its name implies, is a wonderful candy ball with color, and its shape and taste are formed by skillfully stringing a variety of fruits or nuts on a bamboo stick and wrapping it with a layer of transparent syrup.

Different kinds of fruits or nuts bring rich colors and shapes, so Bingtang hulu is also colorful.

This kind of Tanghulu had crisp syrup, fragile nuts, and fresh fruits, giving people a taste journey.

3.5 Dateplum Persimmon Bingtanghulu

Dateplum Persimmon Bingtanghulu
(Dateplum Persimmon Bingtanghulu)

Dateplum Persimmon Bingtanghulu is a kind of sugar ball with regional characteristics.

It is more common in northern China because its ingredient – black jujube – is a specialty in the northern region. This type of jujube only matures in winter.

Its flesh is soft and elastic, with a rich taste.

The Tanghulu candidy is crispy outside and soft inside, with crisp sweetness on the outer layer, and soft and glutinous sweetness on the inner layer.

3.6 Chinese-yam Bingtang hulu

Chinese yam Tanghulu
(Chinese yam Tanghulu)

The Chinese yam Tanghulu is as famous as the hawthorn Tang hulu.

There are two kinds of yam Bingtanghulu, one being yam bean Tang Hulu, the other being yam stick Tang Hulu.

Yam beans and yam sticks are different parts of the same plant, and they are rather similar.

The taste of yam itself is not strong, but after cooking, its taste is very soft and glutinous. Paired with a sweet and crispy icing, it has a unique taste.

3.7 Sandwich Bingtanghulu

sandwich bingtanghulu
(Sandwich Bingtanghulu)

In the food industry, people present endless creativity of making sandwich food, and the enthusiasm of the Chinese people for creating sandwich food will never stop.

Besides the famous Rougamo (Chinese hamburger), sandwich Tanghulu is also a highly-praised sandwich food.

Sandwiching Bingtanghulu is to split the hawthorn in two, put a walnut kernel in the middle of every two hawthorn petals, and then wrap it with syrup. A string of sandwich Tanghulu is formed.

Among them, sandwich can not only contain walnuts, but also raisins, hawthorn cakes, glutinous rice, and so on.

3.8 Cucumber Tanghulu

cucumber bingtanghulu
(Cucumber Tanghulu)

Cucumber Bingtanghulu can be a creative snack.

Cucumber Bingtang hulu combines the refreshing cucumber with the classic elements of Tanghulu fruit, presenting a unique taste.

However, in daily life, this special category of Tanghulu is relatively rare, and there are few stalls for sale.

3.9 Chicken paw Tanghulu

chicken paw bingtanghulu
(Chicken Paw Tanghulu)

Chicken Paw Bingtang hulu is also an innovative form of this sugar-coated fruit.

This kind of Bingtang hulu is made by braising chicken feet in advance, and then wrapping them with syrup.

The combination of chicken feet and syrup may sound unusual, but if you are interested, you can try making it yourself.

3.10 Spicy Bingtanghulu

spicy tanghulu
(Spicy Bingtanghulu)

Spicy stripes (“Latiao” in Chinese) are extremely essential in the snack industry in China, so many businesses have innovated ways to eat them. Bingtanghulu can also be spicy.

The whole spicy stripes are strung with bamboo sticks to make Bingtanghulu, which looks very attractive.

Numerous Chinese people can’t help acclaiming for this spicy Tanghulu recipe.

The combination of the pungency of spicy strips and the sweetness and crispness of ice syrup creates a unique balance and contrast in the taste.

4. The Classic Recipes for Tanghulu

There were Tanghulu recipes in the Song Dynasty. According to Yanjing Age in Mind, “Bingtanghulu are made of bamboo sticks, which are filled with mountain lilies, crabapple fruits, grapes, ma yams, walnut kernels, and bean paste, and dipped with rock sugar, which is sweet, crisp and cool”.

There have been more methods to make Tanghulu. Here, you can learn one of the most classic Tang hulu recipe.

The ingredients used in this production method include hawthorn, rock sugar, and water. Among them, hawthorn can also be replaced with other fruits, such as kiwi, kumquat, apple, and pear. You can choose the ingredients according to your personal taste.

Steps to make Tanghulu:

1. Stringing fruit: Select fresh, plump, and evenly-sized hawthorn, wash it thoroughly, then cut the hawthorn from the waist and use a small knife to remove the fruit pit. Then you need to close the two petals and string them together with bamboo skewers.

2. Boiling sugar: Pour rock sugar and water into the pot in the amount of 2:1, and boil it for about 20 minutes with high heat to stir the syrup. When the syrup comes out with small dense foam, the color is like light golden beer. Then, you can dip the syrup with chopsticks. When the syrup can be slightly pulled out, it indicates that it is ready. Immediately turn off the fire afterwards.

3. Dipping it in sugar: Roll the skewed hawthorn in the syrup until a thin layer of sugar is applied to the front and back. You can use a stick as a tool.

4. Cooling: Place the hawthorn skewers dipped in syrup on oil paper and cool it down for about half an hour.

If you are also interested in this delicious dish, why not make it yourself? You can experience the fun of the production process, and taste the sweet taste.

FAQs about Tanghulu:

(1) Can Bingtang be made from other fruits such as pitaya, pineapple and grapes?

Of course, you can. Beyond that, you can also choose other ingredients according to your personal taste to make other types of Tanghulu, and their production methods are generally similar.

(2) How long does it take for the syrup on the surface of this sugar-coated fruit to be solidified?

About twenty minutes to half an hour.

The setting time of Bingtanghulu syrup is affected by the temperature. If the temperature is lower, the setting time of syrup will be shorter. If you want to taste this delicacy as soon as possible, you can refrigerate it in the refrigerator.

(3) How long can Tanghulu be kept?

Bingtang hulu can be kept for about one day at room temperature, 2-3 days in the refrigerator freezer, and 15 days in the freezer. However, to ensure quality, please eat it as soon as possible. Over time, more bacteria may grow on the surface.

(4) Why Is Tanghulu solidified?

There are many reasons why Tanghulu does not reach the solidification state.

Firstly, the pot and water are not cold. When you boil the syrup, the pot and water used must be cooled, otherwise the rock sugar will quickly melt in the water, making it impossible to boil and melt in water with fire.

Secondly, the heat is not right. Improper heat can cause the sugar to dissolve into syrup instead of becoming dense syrup. If sugar water is used to make Bingtang hulu, the outer sugar coating will be difficult to be solidified.

Thirdly, the ratio of sugar to water is incorrect. Sugar and water must be boiled in a 2:1 ratio in a pot.

Besides, too high ambient temperature may also affect the solidification of Tanghulu.

(5) Can you use brown sugar to make Bingtang hulu?

Of course, you can.

Whether it is brown sugar, white sugar or sucrose, it is suitable for making this sugar covered fruit. Sugar will not affect the production process. It mainly affects the appearance and color of the made Tang hulu.

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