I’m a candy freak. Super crazy candy freak. Once in college my friend told me he would give me a thousand dollars if I gave up candy for one month. I didn’t even try. So yeah, candy freak.

There is a snack in China that seems right up my alley but I have been slow to warm up to: Sugar Cane. That’s right, sugar, direct from the source, cheap, available just about everywhere and not my favorite snack?! What’s wrong with me?

And I’m apparently the only one who was missing out, based on the number of stalks sold around the school. 8-10 foot stalks are outside every fruit/veggie/market because it is that popular. That’s right, the full, natural stalks like they just arrived from some tropical island. You don’t get more natural than that.

The Sugar Stalks at Midnight


When you want one, you just tell the clerk, who whips out a huge butcher knife, and proceeds to shave off the fibrous dark outside, revealing the white, juicy inners. Then they clerk cuts it up into arm-lenth pieces which is easier for holding and eating. This is not a snack for later, but one you are expected to eat soon, like any fresh fruit.

It's a big-ass knife dangerously close to that kiddie.

This is the final product you take home.

This is the final product you take home. About the length of your arm, the price is 2 kuai, or 33 cents. 

It is a tough, fibrous stalk (belonging to the grass family) and can be a little bit hard to eat. You bite off a piece, which can be a little difficult, because it is a hard, then chew out all the sweet, delicious juice. Then comes the problem, you have a mouth full of fibrous stalk that is inedible. The longer you chew it, the drier and crumblier it gets. So you have to find a place to spit it. And quick.

Lucky, this is china, and pooping on the street isn’t frowned upon, much less spitting a little sugar cane fiber, so feel free to spit it wherever you want. If you want to be classy, or you’re indoors, you can spit the fibers into a plastic bag.

This is the detritus from just one tiny bite. A whole piece can really pile up.

This is the detritus from just one tiny bite. A whole piece can really pile up.

So I’ve recently rediscovered this little treat, and have been enjoying it more and more. And here’s the thing. Unlike my beloved candy, this sugar cane is actually good for you. Like, really, really good!

It’s a whole food, unprocessed, and while yeah, it’s sugar, there is a natural sugar that our bodies need. Eating sugar cane (or drinking pure sugar cane juice,) has a whole slew of health benefits like treating a cold or flu, preventing cancer, helps your body recover after exercise, aids digestion and promotes overall body health. A lot better than a handful of skittles.

So I’m sorry I ignored this tasty little treat in the past. I won’t do it again dear sugar cane, my new sweet friend.

I never said eating it makes you look sexy....

I never said eating it makes you look sexy….

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1 Comment

DennisH · July 30, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Ha, that is what I like to eat when I was in China.

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