Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Wangfujing Snack Street, Beijing

Scorpion and Seahorse Kebabs

I think on most of my previous trips to Beijing, a colleague almost always had some restaurant in mind to go to. I thus never really got much of a chance to go hunt down some street food on my own, even though I kept seeing some kind of cool night markets in TV shows before. Fortunately tonight, my hotel was within walking distance to a couple of these night markets, so I made my way down there, the first one being the Wangfujing Snack Street. Surely enough, the very first stall on the right was a guy selling live scorpions on a skewer (like right out of an Andrew Zimmern episode), not to mention other creepy crawlies that looked downright unappealing.

Little Birds on A Stick

Fortunately, most of the other stuff was less extreme, like those little birds above, Xinjiang skewers, or little pork pancake things. I wanted to get something different, so I found a guy doing some fried spicy tofu that looked pretty good. It was only after I ordered it did I realize that I got stinky tofu, which wasn't actually that nasty - it was in fact good enough that I finished it. And the shawarma thing below? At first it looked like one of those Chinese burger things, but when I got it, it was as small as a taco. Ironically, the words on the wrapper said none other than "Turkey döner kebap." Hmph.

Doner Kebabs in China

Perhaps more interesting was the fact that this place was filled with tourists. And I'm not talking about foreign tourists, but rather local ones, who in fact seemed just as scared as the next guy of eating live scorpions. Either way, it is amazing that there aren't more injuries here; so many people are walking around with three or four Xinjiang skewers in their hands, eating while walking, such that a whimsical turn in this crowded alley could easily poke someone's eye out. I won't bother mentioning the "farmer rockets" and loogie hocking that I kept hearing random people making on the side.

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