There are certain dishes that you can’t quite bring yourself to try, even when you come to the realization that you really will be in China for quite sometime.
Luosifen (螺蛳粉）or the local river snail rice noodles, for me, was one of those dishes.
Up until Thursday night, I’d successfully avoided them for a whole year, despite the urging of my husband’s college students (“they’re really delicious”), and even other foreigners, to give them a try.
It wasn’t just the thought of snails on the side of the road, but the practical things, too, like, how would I get the snails out of their shells? How would I know if they were fresh? And the thought of them not being fresh, well, that’s probably what kept me away for so long.
But when I confided in a really good Chinese friend, that no, I’d never actually tried the river snail rice noodles the other night, she gave me a knowing smile as if to say, you know now, it’s my duty, as a good Chinese friend, to buy you a bowl, and took me by the arm and led me down the street.
And as with many other things in China (for instance, the vast array of pickled vegetables that I used to wrinkle my nose at, but now love; literally any kind of tofu imagineable that I’ll now order with glee at restaurants; and even sweet soybean juice, steamed buns, or what the hell– noodles–for breakfast!), it finally just wore me down, and I gave in to a steaming bowl of spicy, delectable river snail rice noodles for dinner.
It really was delicious, and as for the snails, there are none, just snail broth, which is actually quite homey. Add to that the right amount of spice, peanuts, greens, and tofu, and yes, I was wondering why I’d ever been so stubborn.
But then, Evan’s pretty little female students have also described to me how fabulously delicious pigs’ feet are, as well.
See, it’s hard to know who to trust.
You won’t see me running out to try those anytime soon.
Or will you?
Maybe try me back again in another year, when China has really broken me down.