Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

The Feeding of the Ten Thousand

As promised, earlier this morning 10,000 people (or a lot of people anyway) gathered at Liuzhou International Convention and Exhibition Centre for the grand Liuzhou luosifen (螺蛳粉) eat-in. Well, they gathered in front of the centre – the actual centre is a bleak, unfinished, deserted shell of a building. I disguised myself as a noodle and joined them. 10,001.

For those who don’t know, luosifen is the local speciality. It is a dish of rice noodles served in a very spicy stock made from the local river snails and pig bones which are stewed for hours with black cardamom, fennel seed, dried tangerine peel, cassia bark, cloves, pepper, bay leaf, licorice root, sand ginger, and star anise. Various pickled vegetables, dried tofu skin, fresh green vegetables, peanuts and loads of chilli are then usually added. Few restaurants ever reveal their precise recipe, so this is tentative.

The vast majority of the 10,000 were students from the local colleges who patiently and happily lined up to be seated. Hey, mix students and free food – of course they are happy.

Each table was equipped with a basket containing bottled water, a thermos flask of hot snail soup, paper bowls, tissues etc. And most importantly, a bunch of Luosifen caps. These read “万人同品螺蛳粉” which means “10,000 people together enjoy luosifen”

In the meantime, the soup base was being prepared in the biggest wok in the world.

Yep, that is the soup pot! 15 meters in diameter and holding eleven tons of stock. Full of snails and pork bones, spices etc. Chefs delicately added ingredients to achieve the precise, subtle taste required.

Noodles were distributed, soup added and dried ingredients incorporated then there was the sound of 10,000 people slurping.

Surrounding the luosifen eating area were several stalls selling different goodies. Lamb kebabs (羊肉串) seemed most popular, but there was all sorts of food. Here are few of the delights on offer.

Whole roast lamb or roast chicken. The whole lamb was ¥688; a whole chicken ¥50

Lamb Kebabs 羊肉串

Kebab spice mix – Cumin, chilli powder, salt and MSG

Kebab stall

Stinky Tofu from Changsha, Hunan. 臭豆腐

Roast Chicken

Crab

More crab – it’s crab season!

Sweet sticky rice balls

Things on sticks

Scorpions

Pig bones and bits

Liuzhou’s Beloved Snails

 And much more.

To be honest, it wasn’t the best luosifen I’ve ever eaten, but it was wasn’t the worst. Especially when you consider the number they were catering for. But it was a lot of fun. Which was the point.

The food festival runs until October 5th. Bus 88.

Mr Luosifen

By the way, in Chinese 10,000 sometimes just means ‘many”.

Tags: , . This entry was posted on Saturday, September 29th, 2012 at 3:18 pm and is filed under Chinese Holidays, Food and Drink, Liuzhou News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Responses to “The Feeding of the Ten Thousand”

  1. Ray Says:

    I enjoyed it !! Thanks.

  2. Fiona Says:

    Awesome pics! Good job, Ken!

  3. Liuzhou Laowai Says:

    Thanks Fiona, but good job to whoever cooked the food. I just pointed a camera at it!



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