Liuzhou Luosifen, or River Snail Rice Noodles, is a dish not everyone will like. It sounds gross, but when compared to escargot, the difference is in how the protein source is prepared and used. It’s definitely an acquired taste and ever since the pandemic started, has been a trending thing from Liuzhou City, China–where it was first introduced. CNN reported on how this latest trend is the hippest thing. Two years later, I think the fad died as it’s hard to find at local grocery stores now.
The price for a box is $50 CAD when they first started appearing a year ago. I wasn’t ready to blow a bunch of money for a snack I’m unsure of liking. It took three quarters of a year until the grocery store decided selling my individual package was better.
The Hao Huan Luo package is very large. The ingredients are separated out in sealed compartments. You want to cook the vermicelli first, soak in the broth second and add what you like on top third, add everything else (desired) fourth, fifth and so on.
Yes, the amount of goods you can add is crazy. With my ability to read Chinese very limited, I was adding what I liked by eye and wasn’t careful with the portions. If Yan Wang (the King of Hell) has a lunch preference, I’d say this dish would be it! I don’t think I’ve consumed a meal this scorching hot and getting me to blow smoke out of an orifice I never knew existed. There’s no need to dump all the packages, spicy sauces and soup base into your bowl.
Bug eaters might even be challenged at attempting. I’m willing to try again with canned snail meat than with the provided ingredients. Between the two packages, only one provided “snail meat.” The earthy taste is pleasant when complemented with the pickled ingredients but ultimately I found including a few sweet and nutty flavours on top helped make for all the difference.
Unusually, the company has different packaging of the same product. My first attempt at making it was a dismal fail. I used too much. My second was much better and didn’t have to water down the soup. One includes snail meat, and the other doesn’t. I find re-roasting the peanuts and adding any leafy greens is a must to help balance out the musky flavour.
As for whether I’d have this instant version again, I’m more than willing. I’d want to visit a restaurant (in China or locally) and try their version to compare. In my cooking experiments with this dish, I found I like my noodles al dente. It’s the best way to make this dish consumable.