nostalgic childhood snacks
Photograph: Jessica Li

The 16 best Hong Kong childhood sweets and snacks

All the classic treats that we love to this day

Cara HungJenny Leung
Translated by: Jenny Leung & Cherry Chan
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Have you ever walked past a local traditional tuck shop (aka a ‘si dor’) and had a flashback of your childhood days? Sure, we have plenty of options for food and snacks nowadays, but if you’re in need of an added taste of nostalgia, here’s a list of some top childhood sweets and snacks that every Hongkonger will recognise and where you can buy them!

RECOMMENDED: In the mood for some more local fare? Book a table at the best Cantonese restaurants in Hong Kong!

Snack away

Four Seas seaweed 四洲紫菜

No Asian needs to be introduced to seaweed snacks since our supermarkets already stock a plethora of kelpy, mossy goodies – but there’s just something about Four Seas seaweed that hits different. Is it the nostalgia of buying a strip of this from our school canteens and sharing it among friends? Is it the sweet, savoury, and slightly spicy flavours all rolled into one umami-filled mouthful? Is it the fact that each pack only contains a measly four pieces of delicious seaweed? Probably all of the above.

Available at most supermarkets across the city

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Catharina Cheung
Section Editor

Want Want rice crackers 旺旺仙貝

Most modern consumers get enticed by the jazzier, round appearance of the Shelly Senbei crackers, but OG snackers will know that the original Want Want rice crackers is where it’s at. To this day, we’re still not entirely sure what the flavour actually is, but it’s a sweet kind of salty that is insanely addictive. Their cheese flavour crackers are also fantastic – though be sure not to breathe when you bite as the powder is always liable to crumble off.

Available at most supermarkets across the city

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Catharina Cheung
Section Editor
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Ice Gems Biscuits 花占餅

More commonly known as ‘Belly Button Biscuits’, each of these round little biccies are topped with bright, colourful icing. It’s one of those snacks that everyone had a pack of at home, and everyone had their own way of eating them. Some would only eat their favourite colour of icing (though they actually all taste the same), while some would just grab a handful and stuff their face. Some would save the best for last and eat the biscuit first, but more often than not, people just preferred to bite off the icing leave the biscuits untouched.

Available at most ParknShop outlets

Chocolate glasses 眼鏡朱古力

Remember when you were young and would pretend to put on glasses? Perhaps that’s why this snack was so popular. With a hole on each side of its round, spectacles-like packaging, this snack enables you to wear the entire thing like a pair of glasses and show off (or look silly) in front of your friends. But not before devouring all the chocolate beans inside first, of course.

Available at Lingsik.com

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Mamee Noodles 媽咪麵

Mamee Noodles had us shaking foods in bags way before McDonald’s ever made it mainstream. If you’re unfamiliar with Mamee Noodles, they’re similar to instant noodles, except you don’t need to cook them. Simply crush the noodles up before opening, add in the seasoning powder, and shake along to the Mamee Noodles jingle. The art of adequate crushing and shaking must be perfected beforehand or you’ll end up with uneven chunks and flavours.

Available at HKTVmall

Marukawa bubble gum 丸川吹波珠

Marukawa bubble gum made frequent appearances on the school playground. First of all, they’re cheap, which meant you could always afford to buy a pack with what little amount of pocket money you had. Secondly, they taste amazing. Available in flavours like orange, grape, honeydew melon, and even Ramune (marble soda), the gum made it hard to resist just swallowing it. Thirdly, and perhaps the most important of all, you can blow huge bubbles with them and compete with your friends to see who could blow the biggest one! You know, cos that was cool and stuff.

Available at HKTVmall and most Tasty Mart stores

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Sochews Bars 水果條糖

Call us biased, but nothing is going to change our opinion that Sochews Bars are the best sweets ever made. Every break time, these sugary bars would fly off the shelf at the school tuck shop. Each bar would set you back only $0.50 and could last through the whole break, if not the whole day. Sochews Bars are very hard to find these days, and for some reason, no one can ever remember what they are actually called. They’re usually just referred to as ‘those long, thin fruit candy things’.

Available at Lingsik.com

Whistle Candy 哨子糖

Without a doubt the noisiest candy ever made, the Whistle Candy was popular amongst kids – but definitely not their parents. All you have to do is hold the piece of candy vertically between your lips and blow or inhale as hard as you can for a (very annoying) high-pitched whistle sound. The Whistle Candy usually comes with a small plastic toy too, giving you twice the fun.

Available at Lingsik.com

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Meiji Yan Yan Chocolate Cup 明治欣欣杯

Somewhat of a luxury snack to kids back in the day, the Meiji Yan Yan Chocolate Cup was definitely more on the expensive side of things (one chocolate cup could probably get you around two packets of crisps). Peel back the lid and you’ll find finger biscuits on one side, with chocolate dip on the other. Although there are many variations of this snack by different brands, Meiji was always the go-to. Unfortunately, we could never quite find the right balance of how much to dip, and would always end up with too many finger biscuits left and no chocolate dip. A real first-world problem kind of situation.

Available at most ParknShop outlets

Ring Candy 戒指糖

How can we talk about childhood sweets and not include Ring Candy? With a diamond-shaped candy lodged on top of a plastic ring, a Ring Candy can last you for hours. Slide one along your finger and you’ll instantly have a 100-carat ‘diamond’ on your hand – and what could be more impressive than that on the playground?

Available at AeonCity.com

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Orion Soda Candy 迷你波子罐仔糖

Shaped to look just like a soda can, Orion’s soda candy is well-loved for its adorable packaging. These tiny sugary tablets usually come in two flavours (grape and coke), and they melt in your mouth at an instant. They’re so addictive that you’ll often finish the whole thing all in one go.

Available at Ztore.com

Sze Hing Loong Curry Corn Roll 時興隆咖喱卷

Ask any 80s or 90s kid about Sze Hing Loong and they’ll start belting out its classic TV jingle. From cheesy rings to prawn crackers, Sze Hing Loong has produced some of the most classic snacks we all know and love, one of which, is the Curry Corn Roll. Available in packs of three, this snack is often made fun of for its shape and appearance that looks like Chinese incense, which are often burned in sets of threes. True as it may be, nothing could have stopped us from munching this flavourful, crunchy, and highly addictive snack.

Available at Ztore.com

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Four Seas Crispy Prawn Cracker 四洲脆脆蝦餅

Four Seas is one of of the biggest producers of snacks in Hong Kong, and arguably their crispy prawn crackers are one of their signature products. These crackers are thin and wafery, and have an aromatic shrimp flavour to them. While these prawn crackers have since scaled down in size, they still taste just as delicious and are even available in an alternative seaweed flavour too.

Available at Ztore and most supermarket outlets

Wah Yuen BBQ Fried Dough 華園柱侯齋燒鵝

Even though this snack’s Chinese name translates to ‘vegetarian roast goose’, there’s no actual meat in this snack. Each piece of Wah Yuen’s BBQ fried dough is coated in a sticky chu hou sauce, which makes these crispy dough bites little nuggets of pure savoury goodness. 

Available at Lingsik.com and most supermarket outlets

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Maruzen Fish Meat Sausage 善字牌魚肉腸

Although several brands have made their own versions of fish sausages, Maruzen’s version of fish sausages are most likely the brand that most Hongkongers grew up with. These sausages are packaged in orange vinyl wrapping and secured tightly with two metal fastners on each end. Everyone has their own way of unwrapping these fish sausages, but as long as you can crack open the plastic wrapping and get to the filling, then you’re good as gold. 

Available at Ztore.com and most supermarket outlets

Sze Hing Loong Ladybird Dried Seasoned Cuttlefish 時興隆金龜嘜魷魚絲

We couldn’t just include only one snack from Sze Hing Loong on this list, and their dried seasoned cuttlefish definitely deserves to be named as one of Hong Kong’s most iconic childhood snacks. Sze Hing Loong has used the same variety of squids to produce their dried cuttlefish for over half a century, because of its distinct flavour and texture that many Hongkongers have grown to love.

Available at Ztore.com 
and most supermarket outlets

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