Rock ‘n’ roll cuisine: Stir-fried pebbles cause a stir among daring foodies in China (video)


The latest culinary craze sweeping mainland China is proving a bit difficult for foodies to get their teeth into.

Gastronomists in Hubei province have taken their palates to a whole new level with a dish that will leave foodies chewing on…pebbles. That’s right, stir-fried stones have become the talk of the town and a bizarre culinary craze.

The taste buds of daring food enthusiasts in eastern China’s Hubei province are being tantalized by none other than stir-fried pebbles. No, it is not a joke! Street food vendors in the region are dishing out rubble, pebbles, and stones, and believe it or not, customers can’t seem to get enough of them.

Dubbed “the world’s hardest dish,” videos of chefs cooking up this extraordinary creation have gone viral on Chinese social media platforms, leaving netizens in awe. The secret to this peculiar delicacy lies in sucking on the small rocks to extract the rich and spicy flavours before discreetly disposing of them. It’s called suodiu, which translates to “suck and dispose.”

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Vendors pour chilli oil onto sizzling pebbles, expertly sprinkling garlic sauce all over, and stir-frying them with a tantalizing mix of garlic cloves and diced peppers. These sidewalk chefs even spice up their performances with catchy rhymes, entertaining viewers on Xiaohongshu, China’s version of Instagram.

As the video reveals, customers are served the flavoured stones in palm-sized boxes, each portion costing approximately 16 yuan (80 baht). And don’t worry, one curious customer even asked the burning question…

“Do I have to return the pebbles after I finish?”

The chef’s response?

“Take them home as a souvenir!”

Believed to have a history dating back centuries, suodiu is said to have been passed down through generations of boatmen and shared as part of their oral history. Back in the day, these boatmen risked getting stranded in the middle of rivers while delivering goods, often running out of food.

Suodiu became their ingenious solution, providing sustenance when options were limited.

Never has the term “food for thought” been more relevant. The peculiar culinary sensation has taken China by storm, leaving foodies across the nation hungry for more. So, would you dare to sink your teeth into this extraordinary trend? Get ready to embark on a unique culinary adventure and discover the jaw-dropping flavours that lie within these unlikely stones.

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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