Scorpions and Steamed Buns on Wangfujing Snack Street
Don't expect to find any Beijing residents on Wangfujing Snack Street, home of spiders, scorpions, starfish and pretty much anything else that can be skewered and cooked. This is firm tourist territory, a place for visitors to test their mettle when it comes to snacking on creatures that have six or eight legs or float about in the sea. It's almost a rite of passage, to experience foods that most locals would turn their noses up at, and one that usually ranks among the top memories of a trip to Beijing.
Scorpions on a stick seem to be particularly fascinating to visitors. In fact, during the Beijing Olympics it would have been easier to make a list of the visiting journalists who didn't write a story about them. But, and this seems to be rarely mentioned, not everything on snack street has a 'Man v. Food' feel.
The stalls offer far more identifiable snacks. Fried dumplings. Steamed buns. Mountains of noodles. Jellied acorn and chestnut. Corn. And given the overall cleanliness of the spot, perhaps due to its high tourism profile, it is generally safe to eat here. So, don't feel you have to stick to the scorpions. The steamed buns will do, too.
Photo by ahenobarbus/Flickr.