Tangshan Matang (Sesame Sugar)

tangshan matang

Tangshan Matang, also known as Sesame Sugar, is a traditional local delicacy from Tangshan, Hebei, China. This sweet treat is made from a combination of simple ingredients, including flour, white sugar, honey, peanut oil, sesame oil, maltose, osmanthus, and more. Matang is characterized by its thin and delicate layers, offering a delightful blend of softness and slight crispiness, making it a favorite among people of all ages.

With a history spanning over 400 years, Tangshan Matang traces its origins back to the Wanli era of the Ming Dynasty, specifically in Qishu Village, Fengrun County, Tangshan, the hometown of the famous Chinese writer Cao Xueqin. It’s believed that the creation of Matang was inspired by the local custom of enjoying sugary snacks during festive occasions.

The development of Matang was influenced by a popular regional snack called “paicha (排叉),” which was prepared by deep-frying a mixture of sugar, flour, and sesame oil. A pastry shop called “Guangshenghao (广盛号)” decided to take this beloved treat and introduce it to the market. There were two variations of paicha in the market at that time: one was crispy and crunchy, made by frying the dough in oil and then sprinkling it with honey, while the other was softer and coated with a sweet syrup.

Guangshenghao combined the best elements of both versions, creating a unique recipe. They also incorporated a syrup-pouring technique reminiscent of the traditional Beijing pastry called “Migong.” This innovative approach resulted in the creation of the distinctive Matang we know today, characterized by its delightful blend of textures and flavors, with the key ingredient being honey.

Over the years, Tangshan Matang has branched out into various brands and styles, but the most authentic and renowned is still “Guangshenghao.” Thanks to the dedication and expertise passed down through generations, Guangshenghao has preserved the traditional art of making Matang, ensuring that this beloved delicacy continues to thrive and delight both locals and visitors alike. The legacy of “Guangshenghao” and the unique taste of Tangshan Matang have become an integral part of Tangshan’s cultural and culinary heritage, making it a must-try treat for anyone exploring the region’s rich history and traditions.

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