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Li Hing Fuji Apples

Li Hing Fuji Apples, distributed by Aloha Gourmet Products

(product of Thailand and Taiwan)

The comments made in the past two entries reveal there’s a marked interest in anything and everything Li Hing. Which is a bit ironic, as I just had a nice phone conversation last week with Patty, the third generation owner/operator of Yick Lung Company, which used to be a household name here in Hawaii when it came to Li Hing Mui, cracked seeds and other Chinese style pickled fruit snacks.

As you may have recently seen and/or read here, there was Pacific Beach Hotel’s Li Hing Mui Cranberry Relish (originally sauce), and then my sister’s own Li Hing Mui glazed Ham. Also, a while ago I showcased a Li Hing dressing with a Kamuela Tomato by Alan Wong; all absolutely fantastic modern marriages of this traditional chinese fruit pickling spice.

Sticking with the theme, and continuing on with local style snacks (from the previous post about Mochi Crunch), here now we have Li Hing Fuji Apples.

Here’s a look into the container…

I don’t know what it is about things covered in Li Hing Mui powder that automatically causes one to salivate just looking at it. I just did. lol

Let’s zoom in further..

How does it taste? Way better than Li Hing Mango. Way, way better. Actually, addicting. The apple, although a little difficult to detect really being apple (or even a Fuji variety for that matter) due to it being dried, matches perfectly with the rather mild Li Hing spice and sugar coating it. That’s where they got this one right – they didn’t over-do the spices and sugar. The balance factor is spot-on. And while the apples are dried, they still have retained some moisture in them, making the texture chewy, yet smooth, not “fruit jerky” like.

Here you can see a cross-section view of one…

With that, if you’re a fan of Li Hing-flavored fruits and candies, DO pick up one of these Li Hing Fuji Apple treats. Winnah!

What? Li Hing Fuji Apples (dried)
Where was it purchased at? KMART (Nimitz, Honolulu; you’ll probably find it at most major grocery retailers around the islands)
How much did you pay for it? $7.99 for a 25 oz. canister (regular retail price)
Who is the manufacturer or distributor? Aloha Gourmet Product
What’s in it?
Apples, sugar, sulfur dioxide, salt, citric acid, aspartame, licorice, FD & C red #40, phenylketonurics; contains phyenylaline
What’s the Tasty Island SPAM Musubi rating for this product?

(5) Superb. Worthy of repeat visits or purchases. (Broke Da’ Mout’!)

Wait now, we’re not pau yet. While we’re on the subject of seasoned dried fruits, let’s take a look at this here Chile Spiced Mango a coworker recently brought back as omiyage for us (along with some other stuff. Big mahalo for that, AC!) from a Trader Joe’s in L.A….

Let’s look at a few out of the bag…

Notice how course the seasonings are.

The ingredients listed on the package are: Mango (mango, sugar), paprika, sugar, salt, citric acid and cayenne.

It’s exactly that paprika and cayenne that are WAY too pronounced on it. It’s like taking the stuff in those little glass jars with jade green tops that’s been sitting in your pantry for years and just dumping them on some dried fruit with no abandon. Or pouring powdered gravy mix over dried-out turkey it to try and help it out. Ya know? lol

The heat from the cayenne pepper is also aggressive enough where I’d keep a glass of water around just in case you can’t handle it.

I’m not sure if they had “Mango Salsa” in mind when thinking this up, but the flavor and texture combinations just do not work.

Anyway, nice try Trader Joe’s. You’re a very cool store, and you make some delicious nuts and dried fruit snacks for sure, but this “Chile Spiced Mango” gotta’ go back to the drawing board.

11 thoughts on “Li Hing Fuji Apples

  • December 4, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    Pomai, Everybody should now learn not to be so upscale in gifts. Making things to give is more special. Li Hing Mui Powder is not easy to find in California is there anywhere I could get it? I did like the ideal of Chex snack with Li Hing Mui is so different and Hawaii style.

  • December 5, 2008 at 12:03 am

    Oy Pomai,

    Say hello to Patty @Yick Lung for me. Was just in the islands a couple of days ago and forgot to say hi. I was just thinking of the “Enjoy” kakimochi” I brought back which brought back memories of the Yick Lung brand. Tried some of the places you’ve reviewed last week and had some mixed reactions. Some good some not so good. Anyway, keep up the good work. You have nice pictures…

  • December 5, 2008 at 12:15 am

    The li hing apples kind of look like KFC potato wedges.

    Anyway, if you say they’re better than li hing mango, then these must be REALLY good.


  • December 5, 2008 at 12:37 am

    Pomai, With some many snack out there with Li Hing always wonder why no one ever came up with Li Hing Potato Chip Kettle Cooked? Oh well look like I try to create some at home.

  • December 5, 2008 at 4:53 am

    how’d you know my mouth would be salivating like that. Oy! Yeah I don’t care much for the Chile Spiced Mango from TJ’s doesn’t taste much like anything but cayenne pepper. I don’t remember when they had it, but TJ’s also carried a dried Fuji Apple and it was sooooooo good! Unfortunately like with some things over there, they go Bye Bye and don’t come back. *sigh* I’ll have to ask my mom to pick me up some of that li hing fuji apple especially since you say you like it better than li hing mango! Wow! Hey did you ever try the li hing strawberries? Costco had ’em in one of their gigantoid sized containers mixed in with dried mangos a couple years back. It was interesting but a little too much. so it went in the fridge and eventually thrown out.

  • December 5, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    If you can find it, you really should pick up a better brand of chili spiced mango (or anything). Around here, there is more Hispanic/ Latino influence than Asian, so anything that looks like Li Hing is actually covered in a chile/salt/sour mix. It’s incredibly addictive, and the good stuff is not grainy or chunky (and NEVER has paprika!) You haven’t lived until you’ve tried a salty/sour tamarind hard candy filled with gooey spicy sour glee!

  • December 6, 2008 at 3:05 am

    I start salivating, too, whenever I think of li hing anything. Just call me Pavlov’s dog! :)

    Haven’t tried the Trader Joe’s chili mango but I do love their Thai peanuts. If anyone visits the mainland and asks what kind of omiyage you’d like, be sure to mention that. The peanuts are coated in Thai spices, are slightly spicy (but not overwhelmingly) and there are a good number of dried kaffir leaves in there, where are quite ono crunched on their own.

    Still drooling….

  • December 7, 2008 at 2:25 am

    Nate, I gotta’ try that fresh apple dipped in Li Hing powder. Another good one is putting Li Hing powder on frozen fresh Pineapple wedges. Refreshingly cool, with a kick and a twang to it.

    Jenny, thanks for the TG tip! It’s good to know ahead of time which snacks are good and which ones are so so. With that, make sure you DON’T get those Chili Spiced Mangoes. Bleck. lol Them Thai peanuts with Kaffir leaves sounds like a winnah!

    Eris, yeah, I’d say the Paprika was the deal-breaker. Too bitter.

    Dina, looks like more than a few of us here salivated just looking at that Li Hing apple picture. I just did again, looking at it. lol I’ll have to say to you, as well as to Marvo (TIB in the house!), my opinion of how much I liked the Li Hing Fuji Apples is based on the fact that I don’t really care for Li Hing Mango. If you do, obviously you won’t be as impressed with this as I was.

    I never tried the Li Hing Strawberries, but that sounds like it would work too. Which gives me an idea!

    In a future post, I’ll do a fresh fruit Li Hing powder shootout. I’ll buy a bunch of fresh fruits, including strawberries, apples, pineapple, melon, pears, and whatever else I see and dip each one in Li Hing powder and share with you folks my thoughts on each one. That will be VERY interesting!

    Marvo, your avid TIB interest in fast food is playing tricks on your mind. Now you’re turning an innocent, healthy apple into a cholesterol-ridden KFC wedge. Ack! lol

    Howzit Clinton, Patty was really nice and explained alot about the history of the Yee family and the humble beginnings of Yick Lung. She said this year the company turned 109 years old and are very much still in business. So next time you’re in the supermarket, pick up a bag of Yick Lung brand Shrimp Chips and Taco Tubes. Kinda’ expensive, but gotta’ support da’ cause.

    As far as mixed reactions on wherever I review, of course every visit will be slightly different (yet hopefully consistent) in the dynamic environment that is the restaurant industry. As a consumer, and even food blogger, I’m fairly forgiving (willing to let a few blunders slide) in that regard.

    Betty, I wholeheartedly agree with you on homemade gifts. I done so myself. One of my favorites to make are custom humorous birthday cards based on what I know personally about a person (if they party a lot, stay home a lot, eat too much, etc.).

    You know, I did try a Li Hing Chex Cereal mix a few years back, but I can’t remember exactly who brought it to our office. I think I know though. I’ll get back to you on that if I can get the recipe from the person.


  • December 7, 2008 at 5:24 am

    ooh the fresh fruit shoot out will definitely be interesting. we like it on fresh apples and fresh pineapple especially when they’re tart. the li hing takes the bite away! YUM!

  • December 7, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Oh, i gotta ask my mom to send some of that Li Hing Apple! Oh and I totally agree about the TJs mango. I was so excited about it… and then so disappointed.

    I feel like I’ve seen a li hing potato chip… but maybe I made it up…


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