The wary vendor sat astride a bicycle. Athwart his handlebars, into what looked like a root pouch for a now-unpotted plant, he had thrust three or four sticks of tanghulu; I'd bet that more were hidden in the bag at his side. His minimalist display might have passed as decorative, rather than sales-minded, except for the way he kept his head on a swivel.
My photo shows the candy-lacquered fruit ($2 per stick) after I had removed the plastic overwrap and peeled away an edible but unphotogenic underlayer of rice paper. Judging by the pips within, roughly the size of apple seeds, I believe that these were haws — that is, fruits of a hawthorn tree.
Though haws are still harvested in the American South, the whole and unprocessed fruits have never crossed my radar in New York. These fruits, perhaps even the finished tanghulu, may have been imported.
Main St., Flushing, Queens
Hour and location very irregular