Beijing Street Food: The Weird & Whacky
I first walked through Wangfujing Snack Street on my first trip to China in 2013. Back then I had only just started eating chicken and fish again after being vegetarian for around 7 years. Trying Peking Duck was a big deal for me, so walking through Wangfujing and seeing sea horse, star fish, scorpions and tarantulas just made me squirm. My friend Kevin ate scorpions, a tarantula and a millipede while I stood there ringing and in shock. Fast forward a couple of years, I’m sitting on the side of a main road in Siem Reap, Cambodia eating a cricket and going back for another 2! What do you do once you’ve eaten 3 crickets and actually enjoyed them? You eat a tarantula, and that I did on New Years Eve in Beijing.
Wangfujing Snack Street & Donghuamen Night Market
Wangfujing Snack Street and Donghuamen Night Markets are located in the Dongcheng Central area of Beijing. There are hundreds of Chinese delicacies including sheep penis, offal soup, stinky tofu, deep fried crickets, centipedes, scorpions, lizards, snakes and many more on skewers. You will also find the more recognised foods such as spring rolls, dumplings and crab cakes. Most stalls display signs in Mandarin and English.
After trying some normal food at the markets like dumplings, sticky rice and deep fried ice cream I found a stall selling Stinky Tofu. I first saw stinky tofu, actually I smelt it before seeing it was in Taipei at the Shilin Night Markets. Stinky Tofu is a form of fermented tofu that has a strong odour- think cow manure, rotten garbage and smelly feet. It can be eaten cold, steamed, stewed or deep fried.
So the next night I went back to the night market on New Years Eve to try a tarantula. Check out my video below.
How to get there
Chinese Name: 王府井小吃街
Address: Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng District (东城区王府井)
Transport: Public bus 20, 37, 41, 59, 103, 120, 420, 802 (get off at Wangfujing). Or take subway line 1 and get off at Wangfujing.