Luosifen (螺蛳粉, Snail rice noodle) is a traditional Chinese smelly food, which is as popular as stinky tofu. It looks like a kind of noodles, but in fact it is made of rice noodles. Its ingredients include green snails, sour bamboo shoots, fungus and peanuts. The unique stink and sour taste of the sour bamboo shoot gives the food very memorable taste.
Luosifen was originally only available in Liuzhou City, Guangxi Province, China. In 2012, as the famous documentary, A Bite of China, became extremely popular, people began to make instant Luosifen. Consumers only need to buy the packaged food and then simply boil it to eat.
But for most foreign diners, the first time they saw this snack was in Li Ziqi’s video. Li Ziqi is a famous youtuber, imitating a rural girl in ancient China. The main content of her video is to use the oldest method in China to cook Chinese food.
In one of her videos, she produced Luosifen. Like her other videos, it has been played millions of times on Chinese video websites and Youtube.
In fact, Li Ziqi has her own online store in China, where her economic company sells products of her brand. Most of these foods are prepackaged foods from OEM and are not produced by Li Ziqi herself or her company. But this situation has changed in the field of Luosifen.
Prior to this, Li Ziqi’s brokerage company registered a company with a business scope for food. At a press conference between Li Ziqi and the Liuzhou municipal government on Aug. 19, 2020, they announced the details about the company: Li Ziqi will build a plant to produce Luosifen in Liuzhou, the place of origin of Luosifen.
Li Ziqi changed her strategy of “not building her own factory” because Luosifen is special among the many foods she sells. According to data released locally in Liuzhou, China’s Luosifen industry is growing at an annual rate of 89.6%. Its industrial scale reached 4.98 billion yuan in the first half of this year, but only seven years ago, the industry was not existed yet.
Luosifen has become an crucial role in the industry of Chinese instant food. To some extent, it is even replacing the traditional instant noodles.
Moreover, this trend is also extending overseas. It was only in 2018 that China began to export instant Luosifen overseas.
Luosifen, is no less able to conquer the table abroad than it is at home. In the first half of 2020, China exported 7.5 million yuan of Luosifen, overseas. The data indeed is not high, yet it is growing at an alarming rate. By comparison, Luosifen’s exports in 2019 were only 900,000 yuan.
What is even more shocking is that according to the local data released in Liuzhou City, the export volume of Luosifen in July 2020 has exceeded 7.8 million, exceeding the export volume in the first six months of 2020. This means that overseas demand for Luosifen is growing exponentially.
Luosifen is a complex food containing a variety of ingredients, each of which needs to be pretreated.
Yao Hanlin, the chairman of Guangxi Luobawang Food, once said that in order to ensure the quality of each packet of Luosifen, many enterprises standardize every link of production. “For example, the pickling time of sour bamboo shoots, the temperature control, the steps of boiling snail soup, the number of grams of ingredients, and the order of cooking ingredients are all quantified to ensure that each packet of Luosifen can be tasted the same.”
Instant Luosifen not only brings a new traditional cuisine to foodies around the world, but also promotes the economy of Liuzhou. Before Instant Luosifen became popular, Liuzhou was not an developed city. But now, the Luosifen industry has contributed 250, 000 local jobs and brought 6 billion yuan of GDP.
Li Ziqi’s company also participated in the overseas sales plan announced by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba in the first half of this year, which means it will be more convenient for overseas consumers to buy instant Luosifen of Li Ziqi`s brand.