LANZHOU, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Strong seasonings like chili, bay leaves and aniseeds are usually found in Chinese hotpot sediments. Now, the ingredients have moved to an unexpected delicacy -- cakes.
"It looks like hot pot flavoring, but it is a brownie," says Wang Xin, a dessert chef in Lanzhou, capital of northwest China's Gansu Province. Wang sells the spicy treats in a cake store in Lanzhou. As Spring Festival draws near, the cakes are becoming a hit in Wang's store.
"Sales are quite good, and many young people came to buy the cakes out of curiosity," Wang says.
Wang says that she saw the eye-popping cake in September last year on the Internet. Driven by curiosity, she decided to try making them.
"The 'red chilly oil' on the 'sediment' is actually sugar," she says. "But the chili, bay leaves and aniseeds are real!"
Wang says that in the beginning, she was not quite sure if the cakes would taste good or not.
"They tasted like cakes, but I always felt they were too spicy, even though I did not add much chili," she says. To make the cakes look more interesting, she even bought holding plates that look just like hot pots.
After putting the cakes on the shelves, they became an instant hit in Wang's store.
"I can sell dozens of the cakes a day," she says.
In recent years, creative delicacies like hotpot cakes and cakes that look like puppies, have become quite popular thanks to short video platforms like Douyin, where many foodies share creative delicacies in short videos.
China's short video market has seen explosive growth, according to data provider iResearch. China's short video market was valued at 5.73 billion yuan (851 million U.S. dollars) in 2017, an increase of 184 percent year on year. The industry value is predicted to surpass the 30 billion mark in 2020, according to data provider iResearch.
"I think that the popularity of the creative delicacies is a reflection that consumers in China are becoming younger," said Zhang Zhen, with Gansu Agricultural University. "Market demand pushes for creativity and change."
"Young people embrace changes, and they demand novelty in flavor and shapes of products on the market," Zhang said. "Companies in the market need to strive for innovation if they want to survive cut-throat competition."