Beijing: So you wanna see some creepy-crawlies?21 Jun 2014
Location: Beijing, China
The Wangfujing food market is the daytime equivalent of the nighttime Dong Hua food market which I mentioned the other day, and it's packed with just as many tourists, though during the day, most of the tourists seem to be Chinese, not Australian.
It's a good street to stroll down if you want to view a bunch of creepy-crawlies stuck on sticks (like live scorpions, with their barbs still flailing and pincers still pinching), though again, not the best place to go if you actually want the best food to eat. Almost all of it is a half-assed version of things you can find better elsewhere in the city, and at more reasonable prices.
Walk past the scorpion vendors and the men behind the counter will slam their hands down, sending the live scorpions into flurries of movement. Not sure how I feel about live animals on sticks being used as entertainment. You can get them grilled or deep-fried, along with giant spiders, silkworm chrysalises, and even larger scorpions.
Rice sticks done Korean-style in not-too-spicy chili sauce.
Japanese Taco-yaki—octopus-filled spherical cakes.
Steamed pork-filled bao, along with bowls of tofu with chili oil and vinegar.
Looks like noodles, smells like s$&t, quite literally. Those are strips of thinly sliced tripe. They're served with black vinegar, chili, and scallions, and depending on the vendor can range from mildly odorous to outright gag-inducing. I'm generally an avid tripe-eater, but even I couldn't stomach this stuff.
Shengjian bao—pork filled leavened buns that are crisped up on a griddle with black sesame seeds and scallions. They're served with vinegar for dipping.
Quail eggs cooked in what looks like a mini aebelskiver pan until crisp on the bottom, then shoved onto a stick. Actually quite tasty, but, as I found out a coupe of days later, nothing compared to version you can get where we were headed tonight on an overnight sleeper train: Xi'an. But more on that later...