Sugar piles are common snacks in north China in winter. The ancient-styled practices began in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Tea houses, theaters, and streets are full of sugar piles.
The main ingredients of the sugar pile are generally fresh fruits, such as hawthorn, strawberry, apple and grape. After the important steps of fruit-linking, sugar-boiling, sugar-dipping and cooling, the sugar gets hard and frozen, and tastes cold with a mix of sweet and sour.
Sugar piles are said to have the func tions of being appetizing, improving beauty, increasing intelligence and eliminating fatigue as well as clearing heat.