Haw flakes
A packaged stack of haw flakes and an individual haw flake
Alternative namesShān Zhā Bǐng
Place of originChina
Main ingredientsChinese hawthorn fruit, sugar
Haw flakes
Traditional Chinese山楂
Simplified Chinese山楂

Haw flakes (Chinese: 山楂餠; pinyin: shānzhā bǐng) are Chinese sweets made from the fruit of the Chinese hawthorn.[1] The pale/dark pink candy is usually formed into discs two millimeters thick, and packaged in cylindrical stacks with label art resemblant of Chinese fireworks. The sweet and tangy snack is usually served to guests along with tea or as a treat for children. It is sometimes consumed with bitter Chinese herbal medicine to aid digestion.[1]


A variant on the typical packaging

Gourmet haw flakes are also available at specialty Chinese markets in the West. Gourmet haw flakes tend to be larger than the regular Shandong haw flakes (gourmet haw flakes are about 35–40 mm in diameter whereas the Shandong haw flakes are about 25 mm in diameter).

Low-sugar and additive-free haw flakes aimed towards the health conscious are readily available in China but less so in the West. They will vary from pale beige to reddish brown in color.


Haw flakes have been seized on several occasions by the United States Food and Drug Administration for containing Ponceau 4R (E124, Acid Red 18), an unapproved artificial coloring.[2][3] Ponceau 4R is used in Europe, Asia and Australia but is not approved by the US FDA.

Currently, certain brands of haw flakes contain Allura Red AC (FD& C #40) as the red coloring. In Europe, Allura Red AC is not recommended for consumption by children. The food coloring was previously banned in Denmark, Belgium, France and Switzerland.

See also


  1. ^ a b Fegan, MacKenzie Chung (2020-04-02). "Haw Flakes Are the Childhood Snack I Still Crave". Bon Appétit. Retrieved 2023-12-14.
  2. ^ "Enforcement Report for August 29, 2001". FDA Enforcement Report. United States Food and Drug Administration. Archived from the original on 2007-06-13. Retrieved 2007-07-02.
  3. ^ "Enforcement Report for August 16, 2000". FDA Enforcement Report. United States Food and Drug Administration. Archived from the original on 2007-06-11. Retrieved 2007-07-02.