Sunday, May 1, 2011

Wangfujing night food market

Deep-fried grasshopper kebobs
Whenever I return to Beijing, one of the first places I go back to is the Wangfujing night food market. It has an amazing array of foods you can snack on. I used to eat there about once a week when I lived in Beijing, and could put together several snack dishes for a dinner that cost the equivalent of $1.

Back then, conditions weren't as sanitary as they are now, but it didn't bother me. Now, every stand has electricity, covered stands and everyone wears the same uniform. It's a lot cleaner, but still a lot of fun even though I don't usually eat there any more. I just like to go see what's the latest, greatest snack.

If you're traveling in Beijing with your kids, they're sure to like this market, located just off Wangfujing, Beijing's famous shopping street. Just about everything imaginable shows up as a kebob: scorpions, seahorses, tiny birds, snakes, crayfish, beetles, silk worms, and even the traditional pork and chicken chunks. A few years ago, a friend tried the deep fried scorpions, and said they tasted like popcorn. I'll take her word for it, I'm not that adventurous of an eater. My motto is look, but don't touch/eat, and take plenty of photos.

You can also get the more traditional jiaozi (dumplings/potstickers), ciao mian (chow mein), bean congee and assorted fruits, to name a few of the food items on display. I visited the night food market when we were in Beijing last fall, and saw a new beverage I hadn't seen before:  large plastic glasses filled with a colored beverage of some sort that were steaming at the top, almost as if someone had dropped a chunk of dry ice in them. They looked beautiful, but I am way of drinking anything that's not bottled when I'm in China.

Are you going to China?

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