Beijing is home to some incredible food markets, one of which is situated in Wangfuijing Snack Street, next to Wangujing Street in Doncheng district, the busiest shopping street in the city. It brings to mind Bangkok's Khao San Road, but there's a much larger assortment of weird options here. Wangfujing Snack Street is sure to provide one of the more memorable meals of your travels.
Actually, we had heard about another food market in Donghuamen street, but weren't able to locate it. During our search -which was rather complicated when locals don't speak English or just seem unwilling to help- we learnt that this market is permanently closed. Just so you know...
Someone told us that if we wanted to see a food market, we had to go to Wangfujing street. Tucked away in a small alley next to the large pedestrian Wangfujing Shopping street, is indeed a very fascinating market. The market is open all day, but really comes to life at night.
Personally, this market was more of a feast for the eyes than for the stomach. It looks like all insects and any animal part is being sold here, either on a stick or in a bun. The first food vendor we saw, was selling squirming, wiggling scorpions on skewers. They were still alive!
Other stalls were selling deep-fried tarantulas, starfish, seahorse, hatchlings, snakes, silkworms, caterpillars, beetles, roasted street birds... It was fascinating to see this outrageous assortment of food for sale, but I would not even dream of trying them, I'm way too chicken for that. Instead, I tried a neon colored drink that was steaming in a fascinating way, probably because of dry ice.
And for the veggies there's always 'stinky tofu'!
For the more adventurous among us, beware that eating Chinese street food may be a little bit of a game of Russian roulette, since you don't always know what you're eating exactly and how long it's been sitting out. Try to be smart and choose stands that are getting more clients, and therefore a quicker turnover of food. And try to bargain down, the food here is on the slightly pricey side, ranging between 5-25MB.
Snacks are not the only thing sold at Wangfujing Snack Street. Lots of souvenirs and handicrafts are sold as well.