Hasma is produced primarily in the Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning provinces in China. Previously available only to , soups made with hasma are available in North American cities with large Chinese populations and in China , Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Hasma is sold dried as irregular flat pieces and flakes ranging from 1-2 cm in length and 1-5 mm in thickness. Individual pieces are yellowish-white in colour with a matte lustre, whose surface may be covered with off-white pellicles. When rehydrated, dried hasma can expand up to 10-15 times in size.
The dried hasma is rehydrated and with to create a glutinous texture and opaque color. Dried or rehydrated hasma has a slight fishy smell. In its unflavoured form it is sweet and slightly savory in taste with a texture that is glutinous, chewy, and light, very similar to that of tapioca in a dessert.
Hasma serves the role of providing texture to tong sui, or sweet soups, as well as increasing the luxury quotient of the soup. These soups are usually flavoured with rock sugar. For the uninitiated, this relatively accessible eating experience belies the exotic sounding nature of the dessert. Hasma is widely featured in dessert dishes in high class restaurants in Hong Kong.
Hasma is most commonly paired in sweet soups with:
*Dried longan fruits
It is also a key ingredient in making "Three snow soup" , which consists of:
Hasma can also be included in more exotic versions of shark fin soup.
Hasma is taken for medicinal purposes in Traditional Chinese medicine. Reported benefits of eating ''hasma'' include replenishing vital essence in the lungs, kidneys, and improving skin complexion. Hasma is also prescribed to treat respiratory symptoms such as coughing, hemoptysis and night sweats due to tuberculosis. Young children are however not recommended to take it, as the high contents of hormones might cause puberty to begin early.