What Is Grilled Ice Cube, The Viral Food In China Where Ice Cubes Are Cooked In BBQ?

Grilled ice cubes has taken street food culture by storm.

by Tejashee Kashyap
What Is Grilled Ice Cube, The Viral Food In China Where Ice Cubes Are Cooked In BBQ?

In the bustling streets of China, where culinary creativity knows no bounds, one might stumble upon a rather peculiar yet captivating sight: vendors skillfully grilling ice cubes. Yes, you read that right – grilled ice cubes, a culinary innovation that has taken street food culture by storm.

What Is China’s Grilled Ice Cube Trend?


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At first glance, the concept of grilling ice cubes might raise eyebrows. After all, isn’t the very essence of grilling to apply heat to transform raw ingredients into savoury delights? However, the allure of this unconventional street food lies in its delightful fusion of contrasting elements. Amidst the typical fare, one street seller in the streets will draw your attention with an unusual display. With a flair for the dramatic, they pour a mound of ice onto a grill that is oiled over a blazing fire.

The recipe for grilled ice cubes, the newest culinary craze in China, is similar to that of stir-fried stones and pebbles. The merchant generously seasons these cubes with cumin, chilli flakes, and salt after basting them with a delicious and spicy sauce, treating them like luscious lamb skewers or other foods. The spices quickly melt into the glittering ice cubes. It makes sense why this recipe has become quite popular on social media. Customers think this is a recently created dish because of viral content and social media trends.

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Does It Have Culinary Appeal?

Imagine biting into an ice cube and then experiencing an intense burst of fiery flavour that causes your taste senses to go into overdrive. Furthermore, not only locals are embracing the trend of spicy ice cubes. Instagram is a hive of videos of adventurous foodies sampling the dish for the first time, with reactions ranging from comical horror to pure delight. Dishes like Singapore chow mei fun, mochi and dango, tanghulu anything, boba tea, cumin lamb skewers, and curry fish balls have endured the test of time because of their complex flavours and profound cultural origins. On the other hand, it’s unclear how long grilled ice cubes will last.

So the next time you find yourself wandering the streets of China, be sure to keep an eye out for this culinary marvel. Who knows? You might just discover your new favourite street food obsession.

Cover image credits: Canva