Crack seed is a category of snacks that originated in China. It is highly popular in many regions, such as Hawaii. Crack seed are basically preserved fruits that have been cracked or split with the seed or kernel partially exposed as a flavor enhancement. This type of snack is commonly referred to in Chinese language as see mui (西梅; [siː muːi]). The snack arrived to Hawaii with Cantonese immigrants in the 19th century, when they were brought to work in the plantations.
The flavours are varied, ranging from extremely sweet and salty to sour flavours. Flavours can include rock salt plum, honey mango, licorice peach, or any kind of combination of fruits, flavours and type of preservatives used. The largest flavour innovator in the crack seed market is the Yick Lung Company (translates to 'profitable enterprise'), which produces and distributes many varieties. What originally was a preserved fruit has become a favourite snack in Hawaii and a sample of a cultural food.
Crack seed stores also sell candies such as gummi bears, and Sour Patch Kids, coated with Li Hing Mui powder.
Some types of crack seed found in Hawaii and Asia are dry and chewy types of li hing mui, dried persimmons, preserved mandarin peels, and salted Chinese and Thai olives, also known as nam liap in Thai.
- Davidson, Alan. Oxford Companion to Food (1999), "Crack Seed". p. 223 ISBN 0-19-211579-0.
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