As mentioned, it’s Wangfujing time. Wangfujing is one of the largest and most well-known shopping streets in Beijing. It’s pedestrian-only and has a lot of huge department stores and high-end retailers. (Above is the Lotte department store.) I walked through the biggest mall just because I have a fascination with malls in other countries. Surprisingly (for me), I didn’t actually buy anything except for myriad boxes of Asian sheet masks and some BB cream at Watson’s.
Unlike pretty much everything else in Beijing, designer stuff is a lot more expensive than it is here. (Even though it’s probably all made in China!)
Wangfujing is also home to Wangfujing Snack Street, which is packed with food stalls mostly stocked with weird food for tourists. But I am a tourist and I like weird food! So off we went.
(I did not end up eating a scorpion — not because I didn’t want to, but because we were told several times that Chinese people don’t actually eat them and that they don’t taste like anything. Sure enough, the only people I saw with the alive and wiggling scorpions were white people posing for photos. HERE is a video of tourists eating the scorpions that I did not eat.)
Raw squid waiting to be eaten! By me of course.
I’ll never say no to seafood on sticks. For someone who eats mostly vegetables, I’m generally fairly un-squeamish when it comes to food. I don’t mind if it’s still alive or has eyeballs or whatever. But I live for raw shrimp brains, so I’m kind of weird.
Mike tried the squid but donated the rest to me, which I ate happily. The guy cooking the squid was trying to hit on me, but the language barrier was thankfully a problem. I don’t think he believed I was Canadian. At some point, I’ll go into my identity crisis and how I was treated in China, but that’s another entry!
Pork balls and fish balls. Tasty, but not terribly exciting — I buy these at home.
Tripe (cow stomach)
Mike really wanted to try the tripe. It was pretty good — chewy, kind of like calamari.
Probably my favourite thing — madofu. Sort of like hummus, it’s made from leftovers from the soymilk process. We had it with chilis and it was DELICIOUS.
I forget what this was called in Chinese, but it was basically mochi with some kind of nutty filling. I love mochi, so I loved this.
Chinese baked goods, yum.
Pretty pastries. We tried a bunch of different kinds and my favourite was probably the savoury pastry — some kind of dough with a salt and pepper filling.
I don’t know what this is called in Chinese either, but basically a guy takes gooey liquid sugar and forms into an animal for you. It’s really fun to watch.
It’s probably mostly for children but… yeah. You know me.
I got a rooster because the animals were based on the Chinese zodiac. It was too pretty to eat, BUT I ATE IT ANYWAY. It tasted like sugar.
Nearby is the Donghuamen Night Market. On the right, you can see the candy-coated sticks of haw berries. I had one of these and it was yummy — sweet and sour and crunchy and chewy.
Street hot pot! You just pick what you want and they cook it all in a hot pot for you. The red cubes are duck blood, which we didn’t try, but we did have a bunch of the other stuff.
Endless things on sticks.
And more! I wish I’d eaten some of those shrimp.
Mmmm, steamed buns.
Not particularly adventurous, but delicious.
Mike had one of the sea urchins. You’d think eating raw food on the streets of China is a bad idea, but no one died.
I did not eat a starfish, but I can’t imagine they would taste very good. They’re so… hard. And hollow. I feel like if starfish were a particularly tasty treat, someone would have told me by now.
So despite the warnings of others, the night market and snack street were fun! Touristy, but fun. Especially if you like food on sticks. (Which I do. A lot.) If you don’t feel like eating food on sticks, there’s a nice, un-touristy food court in the nearby Oriental Plaza mall (one of the largest malls in Asia!) called Food Republic, along with about a million restaurants.