Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Yick Lung

Yick Lung was a local company that made crack seed, a type of preserved fruit snack that is very popular in Hawaii. The Chinese immigrants brought crack seed with them when they came to Hawaii to work in sugar cane and pineapple plantations, but it became a treat that spilled over into the rest of Hawaii. Yick Lung used to be sold in all the grocery stores but sadly, Yick Lung is no more

Photo of old fashioned Yick Lung cracked seed. Photo from the Sunday Manoa album,
a great idea which I saw on Tasty Island Hawaii since it's hard to find any pictures of Yick Lung these days. This is a photo I took.

What is crack seed?
It’s a dried or preserved fruit which often has the seed or pit inside, cracked or exposed. Sometimes, the fruit is chopped into smaller pieces without the seed. Sometimes, it’s a whole fruit with the seed inside, which is not edible but can be chewed or sucked. Sometimes crack seed included the peels of citrus fruits. I imagine, though have no proof, that crack seed may have been helpful for laborers on a plantation on hot days. Maybe the dried fruits and seeds had some nutritional value and sugar, like a dried fruit version of Gatorade.

Crack seed is sometimes sweet and sour and bitter and salty, or variations of those tastes. There are many different combinations and flavors. The Yick Lung company helped to popularize this toothy snack.
Varieties of crack seed sold at the Camellia Imports store on Maui.

By the way, it looks kind of awful, like little dried bits of mysterious shriveled mushrooms. I grew eating quite a lot of it. If you eat too much, your mouth can pucker up, so you have to go easy. And you can crack your teeth trying to eat the seed, so please don't. Just chew and nibble and gnaw and don't swallow the seed.

One of the most popular flavorings of crack seed is li hing mui, a powder made from dried salty plums plus sugar and aspartame and artificial color and flavors. If I’m eating crack seed, I don’t try to think too much about what flavorings are being used, and how healthy they might or might not be. 

Here's another great post about Yick Lung.
And another great post on Crack Seed in Hawaii

P.S. If you are blog hopping from the A to Z challenge, please include your link if you comment! I try to reciprocate comments as quickly as I can, though I did lag behind last year, especially towards the end.

P.P.S. I am running two mini-contests during the A-Z Challenge (and into part of May). Here's how to enter


  1. This is the first I've heard of Yick Lung. It sounds like a disease! I've learned so much during the challenge. Good luck with the contest!


  2. Yes, it does, doesn't it? LOL! You too! I'm glad you stopped by.

  3. Between the name Yick Lung and the shriveled mushroom appearance, it's kind of funny that this ever became popular. It must taste amazing. And now I want to try some!

    Hope you’ve been having fun with the A to Z challenge,

  4. It's tingly and tart and sweet and sour. But not for everyone! But it can be addictive. If you use FB, click like on my site - www.facebook.com/mauijungalow and I'll enter you in the contest for May. If you win, I'll send you some crack seed.


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