NANNING, May 2 (Xinhua) -- Luosifen, an iconic dish from the southern Chinese city of Liuzhou and known for its pungent smell, registered remarkable growth in sales and exports despite global economic uncertainties and resurgences of COVID-19 infections.
The smelly yet tasty dish, listed as an intangible cultural heritage of Guangxi in 2008, is made from pickled bamboo shoots, dried white radish, fried peanuts, fried tofu skins and served in a spicy noodle broth flavored with river snails.
It has been sold to over 20 countries and regions worldwide, generating a sales revenue of 50 billion yuan (about 7.6 billion U.S. dollars) last year and boosting the income of over 200,000 rural households.
The dish gained popularity around the country after being featured in the acclaimed food documentary "A Bite of China" in 2012.
The city of Liuzhou started to produce pre-packaged Luosifen in the year of 2014. Since then, the local government has supported the modernization of Luosifen-related industries to achieve industrialization, standardization, branding and large-scale development of the industry.
"Our company has eight independent workshops for different procedures of the pre-packaged Luosifen with strict hygienic standards to ensure food safety," said Liu Qingshi, CEO of Liuzhou Luozhuangyuan Food Co., Ltd.
Liu noted that the company has scaled up production to meet the increasing demand, as 9.5 million packages were sold in the domestic market and 450,000 packages were exported in the first quarter of 2022.
The production of raw materials such as string beans and bamboo shoots also raised local farmers' income. Liu estimated that in the first quarter of the year, the company provided income of 3,000 to 5,000 yuan to each of the 500 farmers that sold string beans and bamboo shoots to it.
Currently, the city's planting and breeding base for the raw materials of Luosifen, including bamboo shoots, river snail, rice, string beans and fungus, covers 33,000 hectares.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Luosifen went viral and became one of the best-selling ready-to-serve meals for foodies both at home and abroad. Pre-packaged Luosifen became a hot ticket on e-commerce platforms.
Nisachol Thaithong, an e-commerce livestreamer from Thailand, told Xinhua that instant Luosifen is one of the more popular items on her online store. "It's really popular in both Thailand and China. It's easy to cook and affordable."
As demand for Luosifen soars, companies keep trying to add new flavors and ingredients to the product, such as tomato, pickled Chinese cabbage and even traditional Chinese medicine like the root of the kudzu vine.
"These different flavors of Luosifen can meet more people's needs, and I'm positive about their sales," said Thaithong.