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Grilled Ice Cubes on Barbeque Emerge as Unique Street Food in China

① China’s Grilled Ice Dish

Popular Chinese dish / Source: weibo

A new culinary trend has emerged in China, sparking discussion: ‘grilled ice.’
The dish, which involves grilling seasoned ice over charcoal, has become increasingly popular in China.
It’s so popular that reservations are required to try it.

One netizen posted a photo of the grilled ice dish from a street in Jiangxi Province on social media.
This photo quickly gained attention in Chinese online communities, sparking widespread interest.
The process of making grilled ice is simple. First, ice is placed on a grill to cook, then various seasonings, chili, coriander, and green onions are added.

Source: Douyin

The price of grilled ice is 15 yuan, which is approximately $2.32.
Vendors who sell grilled ice explain that it tastes best when eaten hot.

One vendor even claimed that grilled ice is a specialty of northeastern China.
However, the Harbin Standardization Research Institute in China refuted this claim, stating, “There is no such thing as grilled ice food in northeast China. It’s a fabrication by street vendors.”

Source: Douyin

Some claim grilled ice has never been consumed in China before.
One Chinese citizen commented, “I’ve lived in the northeast for a long time, but I’ve never seen this kind of dish.”

Chinese netizens have had varied reactions to grilled ice.
Some have expressed confusion, saying, “I’m bewildered that people are still buying and eating this,” “I wonder why the ice doesn’t melt,” and “Am I the only one who finds this strange?”

On the other hand, some said the grilled ice tasted good.
These individuals commented, “It’s a flavor that everyone, young and old, will enjoy! Don’t think it’s strange,” “The sauce itself is delicious, so it’s worth trying,” and “It’s not a bad taste.”

② Criticism of ‘Fabricated Food’ Continues

Source: Douyin

Some have criticized grilled ice as ‘fabricated food.’
Despite the controversy, grilled ice continues to be loved by the Chinese people.
It’s especially popular on social media platforms like YouTube and TikTok.

One influencer, after tasting grilled ice, said, “It’s very spicy and tastes great.”
Although it may seem like the ice would melt when placed on a fire, the large size of the ice prevents it from melting.
Netizens in the country are curious about the ingredients of the ice that doesn’t melt.

Netizens have expressed various thoughts, such as, “Would it be warm or cold in the mouth?”, “The zero-calorie foam is crazy,” “Is the ice not melting because it’s made in China? Or is the fire made in China?”, and “Isn’t the ice fake, so it doesn’t melt?”

Foreign media also showed interest in China’s grilled ice.
The New York Post and Taiwan’s Straits Times introduced grilled ice as one of the popular foods in China.

③ Once, Fried Stone Dish Was a Trend

Source: Douyin

Before the emergence of grilled ice, a fried stone dish was popular in China.
The dish, made by frying stones, is believed to have originated in Hubei Province.
Suo Di Wu is a type of food where people enjoy the flavor of the seasoning stuck to the stones.

The name of this dish, ‘Suo Di Wu,’ means ‘lick and discard.’
Those who eat the dish put the fried stones in their mouths, suck on them, then spit them out.
The fried stone dish rose to become one of the most popular foods among street vendors in China.

Vendors place pebbles on a grill, heat them, then add seasonings, minced garlic, and chili and stir-fry them.
Once the dish is prepared, it is served to customers who eat the stones and then spit them back out.
These stones are reused, which has led to criticism that the practice is unsanitary.
One vendor joked, “Even if three generations eat this dish, the stones will still remain.”

The price of the fried stone dish is 16 yuan, which is approximately $2.48.

Source: weibo

Suo Di Wu has a history of hundreds of years in China.
It is said that in the past when boatmen transporting goods were trapped in the river and couldn’t catch fish, they collected pebbles and cooked them.
In times of poverty, they used the commonly found stones in their surroundings to cook.
As time passed, the method of cooking changed slightly.

A Chinese food blogger said, “The river stones used in fried stone dishes naturally have a unique taste, which becomes stronger when fried at high temperatures.”
They added, “As soon as you put it in your mouth, you can tell whether the pebble is domestic or fresh.”
They emphasized that the stones used in the dish are strictly graded, with pebbles from the Yangtze River basin being considered the best.

Videos of people eating pebble dishes have garnered high view counts and sparked discussion.
Chinese netizens have had heated debates about Suo Di Wu.

By. Mia Han

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