A food stall in Hunan province, China, is generating significant attention for selling small river rocks for people to suck on.
Bizarre culinary trend: Priced at 16 yuan (approximately $2.23) each, the pebbles are stir-fried with garlic, chili, purple perilla and rosemary to give them their distinct flavor.
The peculiar dish, known locally as suo diu (“to suck and throw away”), has been likened to the taste of fish
and is often paired with wine.
Unlimited dish: While the vendors clarified that the rocks are not meant to be eaten, adventurous diners are encouraged to savor the flavors by sucking on them and then spitting them out once done. The leftover pebbles can then be reused over and over again for future dishes.
A viral hit: On Chinese social media, video clips showing the food stall selling stir-fried pebbles have generated millions of views and ignited discussion among intrigued netizens.
In addition to the dish’s novelty, social media users were also fascinated with its history dating back centuries.
Surprising origins: The stir-fried pebbles are believed to have originated from boatmen who did not have anything to eat while toiling along the Yangtze River several hundreds of years ago. After gaining prominence in Yunnan province during the Sino-Japanese War from 1937 to 1945, the tradition of stir-fried pebbles persisted in certain regions of China.