Chinese meal being cooked using a wok, Noodles being cooked in a wok on a gas grill, New York City. (Photo by: Peter Titmuss/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Food - Drink
What Makes China's Luosifen Soup Unique
A specialty of Liuzhou, China, luosifen soup, or river snail rice noodle soup, was first introduced in the 1970s by street vendors who started cooking rice noodles and river snails together. Since then it has exploded in popularity, with over 8,000 restaurants in China selling the dish and the e-commerce platform Taobao selling over 28 million packets in 2019.
Luosifen is made by boiling river snails and either pork or beef bones with a blend of more than a dozen aromatics, herbs, and spices until the snail meat has disintegrated and the soup has taken on a "fishy smell" (per South China Morning Post). The soup’s signature smell actually comes from the bamboo shoots served with it, which are a specialty of Liuzhou and are fermented for a half month.
The taste of luosifen has been described as "sour, spicy, salty, hot, and stinky" by CGTN,
but according to Ni Diaoyang, the head of the Liuzhou Luosifen Association and a director of the Luosifen Museum, "It only takes three bowls to get you hooked." With pre-packaged luosifen now available in so many countries, plenty of people can try it for themselves.