Grilled ice cubes, anyone?
While not new, this chilly dish, which is said to have hailed from northern China, has been trending in recent weeks on Chinese social media, with one video of it garnering over 26,000 likes.
One of the earliest sightings of the dish goes back to March 2021 in Harbin.
A TikTok channel, K Opinions, explained that the snack is made by grilling ice over charcoal fire and then seasoned with spices and sauce. Some shops also garnish the ice with spring onions and sesame seeds.
The shape of the ice can range from a conventional ice cube to a water bottle or an icicle. A serving of the famed ice cubes costs around 15 yuan (S$2.80).
While the cooking process looks easy, it has a certain level of difficulty as one needs to control the fire to prevent the ice from getting burnt, explained one TikTok channel, Noodou.
“Many wonder if the ice will melt, but it is not easy to melt because of the size of the ice,” the video added.
It was described as “Girl dinner, China’s edition” by Radii, an independent media outlet founded in 2017 that focuses on Chinese youth culture.
The term “girl dinner” refers to a meal typically consisting of snacks, side dishes and small portions of randomly assembled foods such as bread, cheese slices, sliced cold meats, fruits, vegetables, chips, and popcorn.
Started by creator Olivia Maher, the trend has raised concerns over promoting and normalising disordered eating and under-eating.
On Douyin, China’s counterpart of TikTok, one user from Hunan said that the ice cubes are extremely fragrant when grilled.
In June, China made headlines with another interesting dish – stir-fried pebbles.
Said to have originated hundreds of years ago in the central Hubei province, this spicy snack has purportedly been revived by a street-food hawker at a Changsha night market.
In multiple social media videos posted earlier in June that have racked up millions of views, he is seen frying granite nuggets on a hotplate, adding chilli oil, garlic cloves, perilla leaves and rosemary – each addition peppered with poetic musings in Mandarin, such as “with every drizzle of chilli, a taste of liveliness and emotion”.
A serving costs around 18 yuan. - The Straits Times/ANN