You're scrolling through social media and see a mukbang influencer eating a series of shiny, jewel-like fruits skewered on a stick. The fruits range from strawberries to grapes to tangerines to slices of kiwi and pineapple. This isn't your average fruit kabob — these glossy, glassy, skewered fruits captivate you. You've just discovered the world of tanghulu, a fruity treat originating from China that's taken the internet by storm, especially popular among the mukbang and ASMR communities across social media.
Originally from Northern China and dating back to the Song Dynasty (960 to 1279 A.D.), tanghulu — 糖葫芦, short for bing tanghulu 冰糖葫蘆 — has long been a beloved street food. Initially made with sour hawthorn berries, now you can "tanghulu" practically any fruit (or anything else, for that matter). These days, you can also easily find tanghulu for purchase across China, Japan, Korea, and the frozen aisles of Asian supermarkets across major U.S. cities.
But what is it exactly? Imagine your choice of fruits enveloped in a glassy layer of hardened sugar syrup. Irresistibly sweet and crunchy, not to mention highly Instagrammable, tanghulu wins hearts with its contrasting sensations. The outer shell's brittle crunch gives way to succulent, juicy fruit within. This delightful interplay of textures and flavors — sweetness and tartness — is nothing short of culinary magic.
Making Tanghulu At Home Is Easy With Just 3 Ingredients
Ready to try making some tanghulu at home? It's relatively easy, and you only need sugar, water, fruits of your choice, and skewers. Wash and dry the fruits, then skewer them — about three strawberries to a skewer, or mix and match with other fruits. You want to use fruits with skin or fruits that aren't juicy; otherwise, the sugar coating will melt quickly. Cook the sugar with a small amount of water until a candy thermometer reads 300 degrees Fahrenheit. The sugar mixture is ready when it's lightly amber and syrupy.
Then, dip each skewered fruit into the syrup to thoroughly coat it. The sugar layer will harden into a glassy layer quickly. (Remember to be careful when working with hot syrup — never hold freshly dipped fruit skewers upright, as the hot sugar syrup can drip onto your hands.)
Now, whether you discover it through a YouTube mukbang, on the bustling streets of Harajuku (strawberry tanghulu is known as ichigo ame in Japan), or by making it in your kitchen, tanghulu offers a burst of sugary, fruity flavor with each bite. Sometimes, food really is better on a stick — especially when it's prettily coated in crystalline sugar.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.