One of the great things about social media is viral food trends. From the dalgona coffee drink that took off during the pandemic, to the many varieties of charcuterie-style boards, social media is an effective way to learn about new and interesting foods.
Some of these viral foods include new releases at different fast food restaurants, unusual combinations of ingredients and cuisines from other countries. For example, not long ago a number of people on TikTok started trying Indian food on-camera for the first time. One trend that is currently making waves, at least in Chinese social media, is a dish called “suodiu” — and it’s made with special river rocks, vegetables and spices.
You heard right. Ethnic Chinese cooks are preparing and serving rocks to customers. Here’s one of the suodiu videos that’s been circulating around TikTok, as posted by a Vietnamese creator with the handle @nguyenhieunghia75:
@nguyenhieunghia75Sá»i Äá có thá» làm thá»©c Än và bán cho thá»±c khách? Khó tin nhÆ°ng có tháºt. Äó chính là Suodiu, vá»i thành pháº§n chính là sá»i Äá ÄÆ°á»£c bán trên ÄÆ°á»ng phá» á» tá»nh Há» Báº¯c, Há» Nam vá»i giá khoáº£ng 50.000 Äá»ng…â¬ nháº¡c ná»n – Äá»c láº¡ Báº¿n Tre
According to this TikToker, the dish costs 50,000 Vietnamese dongs, which is equivalent to about $2.13.
But no, you don’t actually eat the rocks. Suodiu is a “suck and dispose” food; you suck on the rocks to get the flavor, then dispose of the rocks. It’s not much different than eating something with bones.
CNN explains that suodiu is a traditional stir-fry called “the world’s hardest dish.” Suodiu originates in the province of Hubei and dates back hundreds of years. It’s a recipe that has been passed down for generations by boatmen.
It kinda reminds you of the old Stone Soup story, right? But there’s no trick involved here. Basically, these rocks add flavor to stir-frys and soups. Other ingredients turn it into a rich, spicy broth or stir-fry. The rocks are specifically found in freshwater streams and rivers, which are also home to fish and other aquatic life.
According to one report, the dish originates from a time in which preservatives weren’t available. Boatmen couldn’t store food, but often had to travel for weeks at a time. When they couldn’t find fish, they would use the small pebbles in freshwater that would take on flavor from being in proximity to marine life like fish, oyster and clams.
Now, street vendors in both the Hubei and Hunan provinces are the main ones serving up suodiu. It’s best if the rocks are fresh, since they lose their flavor when they’re out of the water for too long. The rocks are fried in fat, so the fat gets that flavor, too. Then, cooks add ingredients like garlic, ginger, chilis, shallots, onions, peppers and other vegetables and spices. If you’re eating the dish, you’d suck all the rocks and throw them away (or keep them as souvenirs), then finish the rest.
In this 2019 video from @ç¾é£å°foodvideo, showcasing the ethnic cuisine of the Tujia people, the narrator says cooking this dish on very high heat is ideal, because it brings out the “river snail”-like flavor of the stones.
“When I have guests from home, my relatives or friends from other places, I would cook the dish for them,” says the narrator. ” They all speak highly of it and think it’s amazing.”
Turns out, you can even make this dish at home. Months before the most recent trend took hold, one TikTokker tried it with coriander, green onion, soybean paste, garlic, butter, ginger and peppers. @anjaysva said he liked it, but he made it too spicy — and would probably add chicken next time.
@anjaysva I’d probably try it with chicken next time #suodiu #smarthomeshopping #jiafei #toronto #fyp #foryou #cookingtiktok â¬ Luxury fashion (no vocals) – TimTaj
It actually sounds good to us! Would you try it?