About Latiao

What is Latiao?

Latiao is a popular snack originating from Hunan Province in Mainland China, primarily made from flour or soybeans as ingredients, with the addition of chili, salt, and other seasonings. This food is extremely popular, especially among young people in China, due to its unique spicy flavor and convenient portability. The shape of Latiao is usually a long strip, which can be cylindrical or flat, and its flavors are diverse, ranging from mildly spicy to numbingly spicy, satisfying the taste needs of different groups of people.

The history of Latiao can be traced back to a major flood in Hunan in 1998. At that time, Liu Weiping changed the raw material of Pingjiang rural long-life soy sauce to flour and invented Latiao. Due to the large amount of food additives added to Latiao for preservation and flavor enhancement, it has caused health and hygiene controversies. Nevertheless, Latiao is still sold in regions outside mainland China through channels like Amazon, becoming a popular snack.

The market for Latiao is also very large, with various small factories and internet celebrities joining the competition, resulting in uneven quality of Latiao. In addition, Latiao is sometimes named after meats or other foods or items that are not related to Latiao itself, which may mislead buyers.

Even though Latiao is very popular in mainland China, its price abroad may surge. Reports have suggested that the price of Latiao overseas can be as high as 12 dollars per package, which surprises many people. Latiao is not just a snack, it also has a place in internet culture, often being used in internet culture products such as memes.

Ingredients and Preparation Method for Latiao

The main ingredients of Latiao include flour or soybeans, chili, salt, as well as common food additives and cooking oil. As for the preparation steps, although different methods might vary, the basic process can be summarized into the following steps:

  1. Dough making: Mix the main ingredient flour with water, salt, sugar, etc. to make dough. Sometimes, natural coloring is also added. This step is to form the basic dough for Latiao.
  2. Expansion: The prepared dough is expanded under high temperature and pressure through an expansion machine. This step is to give the Latiao its unique texture and shape.
  3. Seasoning: Add chili, Sichuan pepper, etc. to the expanded product. Depending on different taste requirements, other types of seasonings may also be added.
  4. Adding additives: Add preservatives and other additives according to standards. This step is to ensure the shelf life and flavor of Latiao.
  5. Shaping and Packaging: Shape the seasoned Latiao, cut it into appropriate sizes and shapes, and then package it for sale.

It’s worth noting that because a large number of additives, including preservatives and colourings, may be used in the production process of Latiao, one should choose brands with good reputation and qualified production licenses to ensure food safety when choosing and consuming Latiao. In addition, for those who are interested in making their own Latiao, they can try a simplified home-made method to better control the additives and sanitation conditions.