Liuzhou Luosifen street noodles go global with standard English name
Published: May 13, 2024 10:22 PM
Luosifen Photo: VCG

Luosifen Photo: VCG

 Luosifen, or "river snail rice noodles," a beloved street food in Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, is making waves internationally with the introduction of a standardized English translation: Liuzhou Luosifen.

The standard has provided the English terms and definitions for pre-packed Liuzhou Luosifen and the newly coined name will be printed on the products' packaging. The official translation covers a variety of Luosifen flavors, including original flavor, extra fragrant and spicy, mala and crayfish flavors. Additionally, ingredients such as peanuts, chili oil, and dehaydrated vegetables will also appear on the labels, further clarifying the contents of the products. 

Previously, a variety of translations such as "snail noodles" and "snail rice-flour" failed to accurately convey the essence of this specialty and led to misunderstandings among foreign diners, who might have mistaken the delicacy for a dish containing actual snails.  

Export enterprises, once challenged in determining the proper English names for Liuzhou Luosifen, can now benefit from this new standardized language approach, to avoid confusing or inadequate translations that used to complicate customs clearance. 

Meanwhile, this is a perfect marketing opportunity for Liuzhou Luosifen to enhance its visual identity by conveying the characteristics of this local delicacy more clearly. The adoption of the word "Liuzhou Luosifen" reflects a mix of transliteration and translation, with "Liuzhou" indicating the place of origin of the dish, and "Luosifen" being the transliteration of the Chinese characters into pinyin. The new unified name underscores the cultural confidence and the authenticity of the product and it marks the recent and ongoing evolution of Liuzhou Luosifen from a humble street snack to a globally recognized Chinese specialty. 

Popularized by social media influencers and YouTubers, the Liuzhou Luosifen has garnered widespread attention, drawing foodies from all over the globe to experience its captivating flavor first-hand.

Liuzhou Luosifen consists in rice vermicelli soaked in a spicy broth flavored by river snails and topped with ingredients such as pickled bamboo shoots, string beans, peanuts and fried tofu skin.

In addition to Liuzhou Luosifen, Chinese cuisine keeps attracting diners from all over the world. Many visitors come to China to explore flavors they have never tried or heard of before and they express their appreciation of Chinese food through social media. This well-meaning promotion however is often characterized by confusion and heated discussions about the names of the dishes shared in posts and videos. 

Proper English names for Chinese specialties not only facilitate trade and communication, but also contribute to the promotion of the Chinese culinary tradition through social media.

In terms of industry sectors, Liuzhou Luosifen has emerged as a cornerstone of Liuzhou's economy. By 2023, Liuzhou Luosifen products had penetrated markets in more than 20 countries, including the US, Canada and Australia. With an export value exceeding 100 million yuan ($13.82 million), Liuzhou Luosifen holds promising prospects in the global market. By the end of 2023, the number of companies qualified for export in this sector had reached 59, reflecting the growing demand and competitiveness of Liuzhou Luosifen on the international stage.

Hot pot, Mapo Tofu, Roujiamo, Biangbiang Noodles, Spicy hot pot and Lamian Noodles are all Chinese delicacies that have long conquered foreign palates and are well appreciated by foreign diners. Now, as Liuzhou Luosifen gains growing global recognition, it represents part of the broader trend of Chinese cuisine expanding its reach worldwide and captivating palates across cultures with its diverse flavors and rich culinary heritage. 

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.