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The Chinese Fig Newton

November 7, 2010

Fig Newtons are one of those snacks that very few people dislike.  The heavy pastry crust and the smooth semi-sweet filling is not overly sweet or bland, just the right hint of sweetness. A satisfying snack that keeps you coming back for more.  Sadly, when moving to foreign countries, we end up forgoing the familiar snacks of our youth for the new and exotic flavors and foods of new countries.  While this is good, it is never quite the same. Well, sometimes we get lucky.

Tucked away among the strange looking unfrosted cakes and odd-shaped greasy muffins, there is a familiar face that has had a slight upgrade.  The Chinese Fig Newton.   It is about twice as wide, and twice as tall, as the one known to westerners and one can imagine that it must be twice as delicious.

The Fig Newton, originally known as the fig roll,  road the Silk Road from either Egypt or Asia Minor and landed in China at a time long forgotten.  The original recipe was designed to preserve the fig paste for a longer period of time, though this seems to have failed because people kept eating them so quickly.

In China, you can find these ancient treasures in the occasional traditional bakery.  The one you most likely pass every day on the street.  If your baker has them, they will be immediately obvious.   Fillings tend to vary, with date and red bean sometimes sneaking in.  Check your local bakery to see if they offer them.

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