Lao Liuzhou Noodle (墨尔本老柳州螺蛳粉), Melbourne CBD

MELBOURNE | Regional Chinese noodle dishes have really taken off in Melbourne in recent years. Walk through the CBD, and there’s no shortage of restaurants specialising in dishes that were rarely, if at all, available in this city. A recent opening that’s added to this diversity is Lao Liuzhou Noodle (墨尔本老柳州螺蛳粉), which I visited for What’s On Melbourne.

Luosifen /螺螄粉/ Snail Rice Noodle is a speciality of Liuzhou, Guangxi. As far as I can ascertain, Lao Liuzhou Noodle is the only place in Melbourne where you can find it. Nobody is quite sure who created the dish, with various origin tales floating about. What is certain is that it dates back to around the mid 1970s or 1980s.

It wasn’t common to find Luosifen outside of Liuzhou until it was featured in a documentary that aired in China in 2012. By 2014, instant versions of the dish started being produced, and during COVID lockdowns, it became a nationwide trend. Today, there’s over 8,000 restaurants across China dedicated to Luosifen.

Owner Cathy and her husband hail from Liuzhou, and when they realised that there weren’t any luosifen spots in Melbourne, decided to take matters into their own hands. When you walk into Lao Liuzhou Noodle, the pungent smell of the luosifen is unmistakable. Cathy’s family recipe sees river snails, pork bones, and assorted herbs and spices simmer for 10 hours, resulting in a surprisingly mild, sweet broth.

The snails and bones are discarded, and the broth clarified. Added to it are fermented sour bamboo shoots (the source of the pungent smell, not the snails as many assume), yuba (dried tofu skin), fungus, pickled green beans, peanuts, dried radishes, and al dente aged rice noodles. This is the base bowl, to which varied toppings are added.

There’s several bowls to choose from, which you can customise as you please. I’m a fan of the “big happiness” bowl, which gets you chicken feet, pig’s trotters, fried egg, and fried tofu. Other toppings include things like braised beef brisket, sliced beef, chicken schnitzel, and braised quail egg. Choose from one of six spice levels, and you’re good to go.

For sides and snacks, it’s things like mala braised beef, spicy pig’s ears, and pickled cucumbers. There’s also a skewer menu featuring options like lamb, beef, and fried potato.


Lao Liuzhou Noodle (墨尔本老柳州螺蛳粉)

221 Russell Street
Melbourne
Victoria 3000
Australia

Telephone: 0416 228 168
E-mail: n/a
Website

Open
Mon – Sun: 11:30am to 1:30am

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