By Ning Shuang, Yang Mingzhuo
Latiao (“辣条”) is a popular spicy snack among Chinese young people, especially students. Most Chinese in their twenties and thirties have fond memories of eating latiao, which is a snack made from wheat sticks or shreds that include spicy oil and chili flakes. They are packed in a variety of plastic package sizes, and have a strong and unmistakable scent.
Apart from its unique smell and taste, Latiao is a popular snack among Chinese students because it’s cheap. Recently, as one respected latiao-producer has taken a commanding share of the market, this nostalgic snack has gradually shaken off its reputation as a type of junk food, instead achieving a position as a source of nostalgia for Chinese in their thirties. Reflecting the product’s ubiquity, hashtags like “rich men enjoy latiao” and “latiao conquers the world” have even begun trending on Chinese social media.