Li Hing Mui – A Deliciously Mind-blowing Hawaiian Treat

Are you a foodie and have you ever heard of Li Hing Mui? Well, if you haven’t yet heard of it, let me tell you that if you taste it, you’re going to fall in love with it forever. Li Hing Mui is made from dried and salted Asian plums and is used widely in Hawaiian cuisine. Its taste is an amazing blend of sweet, sour and salty. Let me tell you more about it.

Li Hing Mui – What is it?

Li Hing Mui are tiny plums that are salted and dried. These plums originated in China. Li Hing Mui powder and seeds are added to various dishes for their sweet and tangy taste, and the plums can even be eaten as snacks – just suck on them and throw the seeds away.

In the 1800s, li hing mui came to Hawaii via migrants who worked on sugar plantations. Hawaiians being great foodies loved li hing mui and made it their own to such an extent that in the US, li hing mui is often associated with Hawaii. Literally, li hing means traveling and mui means plum in Cantonese, thus li hing mui means traveling plum.



Li Hing Mui

Taste of Li Hing Mui

Li hing mui is particularly wonderful because it contains three amazing tastes – sweet, sour and salty. All these three flavors are in the same proportion in these plums. Often the plums are pickled with ingredients like salt, licorice, red food color and sometimes aspartame. Li hing mui has a very distinct and unique flavor which you cannot mistake with anything else.

li hing mui iced tea

Li Hing Mui Vs. Li Hing Powder

If someone is telling you about Li Hing Mui, he’s talking about the seed. Seeds are mainly eaten as snacks, but aren’t used in cooking or making dishes of.

On the other hand, Li Hing Powder is made by grinding the seeds. This powder is used in cooking, sprinkled on various dishes such as fresh fruit, popcorn, shave ice etc. or mixed into dishes like cocktails and juices to add flavor.


li hing mui powder

Li Hing Mui Powder without Aspartame

Aspartame is a key ingredient in li hing mui powder. However, with the increasing health consciousness, people prefer li hing mui powder without aspartame in it.

Wet Li Hing Mui

Wet li hing mui is a highly delicious treat. It’s primarily li hing mui soaked in sweet and salty essence. Its recipe differs from maker to maker. Its scooped up and sold by pounds.

Li Hing Mui Gummy Bears

In Hawaii, li hing mui gummy bears are considered a great treat. Even you’ll be addicted to them once you taste them. They are available at all convenience stores, supermarkets and snack shops. They are simply gummy bears sprinkled with li hing mui powder. This powder sticks well to the gummy bears and once a person eats li hing mui gummy bears, he is almost sure not to return to the regular gummy bears.

li hing mui gummy bears

Snacks Rolled in Li Hing Mui Powder

Just like gummy bears, you can roll many other snacks in the li hing mui powder for an added amazing taste. Thus you can try li hing dried mango, li hing sour apples, li hing dried lychee and li hing sour belts. So, basically you can combine anything sweet and fruity with li hing mui powder.

Using Li Hing Mui

You can use li hing mui in so many ways. Here are some of them:

  • Dust popcorn with li hing mui powder.
  • Li hing mui has long been a highly popular shave ice syrup flavor. And even if you don’t wish to make the syrup, you can simply dust your shave ice with the powder.
  • Add li hing mui to iced tea, lemonade or other drinks. The tangy-sweet-salty taste of the powder will make them so delicious. Also, keep in mind to try making li hing margaritas.
  • Add a dash of li hing mui powder to fresh fruits, like sliced apples and chopped pineapples.
  • Mix li hing mui powder with any of your favorite snacks and your snack will become even more amazing. Thus, whether you are eating cuttlefish or popcorn, li hing mui is there to do its job.


li hing mui sprinkled on fresh fruits

Easy Li Hing Mui Margarita Recipe

If you’re wondering how to make li hing mui margarita, here’s a simple recipe:

Ingredients:2 tsp.

  • li hing mui powder
  • ½ oz. Cointreau
  • 1 ½ oz. tequila
  • 1 ½ oz. sweet and sour mix
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • ½ oz. mango puree


First take li hing mui powder in a shallow dish and wet your cup’s edge with a lime wedge. Dab it in the li hing mui powder to completely coat it.

Put the other ingredients in a blender and blend for around 10-15 seconds. Add ice and keep blending till it gets mixed well.

Now pour the mixture into margarita glasses and enjoy!


li hing mui margarita

Storing Li Hing Mui

You have to store li hing mui powder in airtight container/bag. It should be placed in a dry place, away from sun and heat.

Hawaiian Shops to Try Li Hing Mui

Crack Seed Stores

Nowadays not many crack seed stores are left in Hawaii. But wherever they are, they are like treasures. Some of them offer some fantastic li hing mui and you can buy everything from li hing mui powder to li hing’d snacks, dry and wet li hing mui and renowned li hing Icees! These places are truly charming and have the old Hawaiian vibes.

Malasada Shops

Normally malasada are sprinkled with plain white sugar. However, some places offer them dusted with li hing sugar.

Shrimp Trucks

Some popular shrimp trucks sell li hing pineapples. It is a cool and refreshing post-garlic shrimp platter lunch treat.

Shave Ice Shops

You will be offered li hing mui as a shave ice syrup option in all Hawaiian shave ice shops, whereas you can get sprinkles of li hing mui powder as a bonus topping at some places.

li hing mui cocktail


If at all you cannot access any of the above options, you can always get li hing mui at supermarkets which are fully stocked with li hing mui seeds, powder and gummies.

So, are you ready to enjoy li hing mui?