A street food vendor has found overnight fame after being filmed serving a ‘speciality’ dish of grilled ice cubes at a night market in Changsha, southern China.
Footage shows the vendor ‘cooking’ frozen water on a barbecue before dousing it with spicy sauce, brushing it with oil and handing it over to paying customers.
A customer looks stunned as she takes a box of ice, which was described as being ‘a bit burnt or tender’.
In the video, the customer is seen taking the food and asks: ‘Should I eat it when it’s still hot or later when it has cooled down?’
The vendor replies: ‘Eat it now while it’s still hot.’
She described the food as ‘so spicy’ but followed with ‘what a wonderful taste’.
A single serving of the icy snack costs just £1.60, according to local media reports.
X user Ross wrote : ‘Grilled ice cubes just hit different with the sriracha.’
Bemused netizens took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to share their views.
One wrote: ‘I mean, the way food prices are going you might as well eat seasoned ice.’
Another joked: ‘As long as they don’t burn them. I like my ice cubes medium rare.’
Ross wrote: ‘Grilled ice cubes just hit different with the sriracha.’
Many drew comparisons to the unusual Chinese dish of stir-fried rocks, which also became a viral hit earlier this year.
A user wrote: ‘Bring back the fried stones.’
The dish named Suodiu – meaning to suck and discard – has origins in ancient China.
Suodiu allegedly dates back centuries to the Hubei province in central China, where local fishermen would collect the rocks to eat when they ran out food.
Stones are heated in a pan before covered in spices and aromatics, including garlic and chilli.
The rocks are served with a mix of vegetables once softened enough to eat. They are understood to have a naturally fishy taste, enhancing the flavour of the salad.
Local media reported the dish sold for £1.74 a head.
Fried ice does not appear to be a regional speciality.
The vendor reportedly sells each portion of ice cubes for the equivalent of £1.60
‘Should I eat it when it’s still hot or later when it has cooled down?’ a customer asks
The ice is thrown with spicy sauce and flavourings, much like the hot stones earlier in the year
Notably, the chef serving Suodiu and the vendor serving grilled ice were both wearing apparel branded with ‘Sailing Night Market’.
It was unclear whether they worked for the same store.
‘What’s next?’ rounded off one critic. ‘Baked air?’