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Guangxi's snail noodles invade the world's menus

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-10-29 09:58

Rice noodles cooked with snails, a signature street food of Liuzhou in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, are becoming a popular snack around the world.

On Thursday, Guangxi Luobawang Food Co. Ltd. became the first company authorized to export large quantities of the specialty.

Combining traditional foods of the Han, Miao and Dong people, "luosifen" is a dish of pickled bamboo shoots, dried turnip, fresh vegetables and peanuts, served over spicy noodle broth flavored with river-snails.

Listed as part of Guangxi's intangible cultural heritage in 2008, the dish became popular after being featured in the hit foodie-travel show "A Bite of China" in 2012.

In Liuzhou, "luosifen" is usually sold from roadside stands or in night markets. Now packaged versions are being sold by more than 5,000 online stores on e-commerce platforms like Taobao, with daily sales as high as 200,000 packets, according to Li Jianhong of Liuzhou's commerce commission. Several big commercial players have applied for export certificates.

The growth of the market can be traced back six years, when a government project began encouraging "luosifen" restaurants to open outside Guangxi.

According to Li, the number of instant noodle manufacturers offering river snail varieties has increased from one in late 2014 to more than 60 today. Online revenue from the noodles was more than 500 million yuan (74 million U.S. dollars) last year, with daily sales averaging more than 100,000 packets.

New food safety standards specifically targeting snail noodles took effect in May, and the local government hopes to see more than 5,000 snail rice noodles restaurants all over the country by 2020.


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