Suodiu: China’s Latest Street Food Fad – Stir-Fried Stones, the World’s Hardest Dish


Suodiu: The Unusual Stir-Fry Dish with Rocks


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Hong KongCNN — Dubbed “the world’s hardest dish,” a unique stir-fry featuring stones as its key ingredient has been generating curiosity among culinary enthusiasts on Chinese social media. Originating from the eastern Chinese province of Hubei, this traditional dish called suodiu requires patrons to suck on small rocks to savor its rich and spicy flavors. In this blog post, we will explore the intriguing origins of suodiu and delve into the cooking process of this extraordinary culinary creation.

The Origins of Suodiu:

Suodiu has a fascinating history that dates back hundreds of years. According to local media reports, this dish was passed down through generations by boatmen, who preserved it as part of their oral history. In the olden days, when boatmen would find themselves stranded in the middle of a river during their goods delivery journeys, they would often run out of food. To find solace in their challenging situation, they started using stones along with other condiments to create a unique dish that would provide sustenance and comfort.

Cooking Process and Flavors:

Videos showcasing suodiu have gained significant popularity on Chinese social media platforms. Street vendors, often seen in these videos, demonstrate the process of preparing this unusual dish. The cooking begins with pouring chili oil onto pebbles sizzling on a teppanyaki-style grill. They then sprinkle garlic sauce over the stones and stir-fry everything together with a mixture of garlic cloves and diced peppers. The intense heat releases the flavors, infusing the rocks with a tantalizing aroma.

Sidewalk chefs, who passionately prepare suodiu, sometimes accompany their cooking process with rhymes, as seen in videos on Xiaohongshu, China’s equivalent to Instagram. These captivating narrations add an extra layer of charm to the experience. “A portion of spice brings the passion alive,” one chef exclaimed in a video, comparing the dish’s popularity to that of alcohol.

The Suodiu Experience:

Once the dish is ready, customers are served the flavored stones in palm-sized boxes. Each portion of suodiu typically costs around 16 yuan (US$2.30), as observed in the video. Interestingly, one customer inquired if they needed to return the pebbles after finishing their meal. The chef playfully responded, encouraging patrons to take the stones home as a unique souvenir.


Suodiu, the stir-fry dish featuring stones as its primary ingredient, offers a truly unique and unconventional culinary experience. With its origins dating back to the boatmen of Hubei province, this dish holds historical significance and showcases the ingenuity of individuals in challenging circumstances. The combination of chili oil, garlic sauce, and spices infuses the rocks with flavors that patrons savor through the process of sucking on them. While suodiu may not be a dish for everyone, its viral popularity on Chinese social media platforms proves that culinary exploration knows no bounds.


The information provided in this blog post is based on available online sources and personal research. While we strive to ensure accuracy and reliability, we make no representations or warranties of any kind regarding the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability of the information provided. Readers are advised to exercise their own discretion and conduct further research before attempting to try or replicate suodiu or any similar culinary experiences.

Source: CNN

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Suodiu: China’s Latest Street Food Fad – Stir-Fried Stones, the World’s Hardest Dish

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