Snail noodles take over Chicago
👋 Hey, Monica here. After hearing about the snail noodle craze sweeping China, I became obsessed with finding the funky, slimy noodles in Chicago.
- Big thanks to Axios reader Brian W. for directing me to a stash at Chinatown's huge 88 Marketplace.
The goods: I bought five brands (averaging $3.50), which come with dried rice noodles and multiple condiment packs.
The taste: The main flavor comes from the chili oil and the umami-rich "snail broth," supposedly derived from real river snails.
- But the flavors and odors grow as you add the packets of vinegar, fermented bamboo shoots, preserved mustard greens, peanuts and tofu skin.
The famous funk: I hardly noticed these aromas while cooking, but when our teen came home, he shouted, "What stinks?"
- Yes, the funk is real, but it only made me love these noodles more.
- Or maybe I was just swayed by the writing on one of the snail packets.
Low carb confession: I get sleepy after a big bowl of real noodles, so I swapped in a bunch of daikon strips and they worked just fine.
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