The Day I Ate a Scorpion in China or the Wangfujing Snack Street

John Berger, an English art critic, novelist, painter and a poet once said that:

“Every city has a sex and an age which have nothing to do with demography. Rome is feminine. So is Odessa. London is a teenager, an urchin, and in this hasn’t changed since the time of Dickens. Paris, I believe, is a man in his twenties in love with an older woman.”

If Berger is right and this is true of every city, then “who” is Beijing like?

If I was the one to describe it, I would say it’s a little boy who is full of contradictions. It’s friendly but at the same time hostile. Emotional, but well, it’s also very serious. Predictable but still surprising. Familiar? Completely different…

It’s a city of contrasts. And… I fell in love with it! To illustrate my point, let me introduce you to the Wangfujing Street or the craziest place on earth to get a meal!

The Wangfujing Street (General Information)

Wangfujing is one of the most famous and fascinating shopping districts, not only in Beijing but all of China. It’s the “shopper’s paradise”, filled with massive and newly constructed mega-shopping complexes selling everything from ultra-trendy clothes to traditional Chinese arts and crafts at really low prices. It is the “central heart of Beijing” as people (especially foreigners) like to call it. 

The Day I Ate a Scorpion in China or the Wangfujing Snack StreetThere’s even a scandalous rumor going on that the Wangfujing shopping district aims to achieve equal rankings with New York’s Fifth Avenue and the Champs-Elysées of Paris.

The Wangfujing Street at Night

The Day I Ate a Scorpion in China or the Wangfujing Snack Street

How to Save Money When Traveling the World (My Tips and Advice)There’s always something I find mesmerizing about huge cities like Beijing…

I find tranquility and peace in a bustling and hustling environment, whereas others relax in the calm surroundings of nature. For me, nothing can compare to the sensation of wandering around the streets like Wangfujing at night, staring wide-eyed at the reflecting, tall corporate buildings with huge, colorful screens built onto the windows.

The Day I Ate a Scorpion in China or the Wangfujing Snack Street

Anyway,

While for most people Wangfujing is a safe, “Western style” shopping street where you can stock up on silk scarves, table cloths and PJ’s you will never wear, for others, it’s a place of adventure. And believe me, a very smelly one! Especially, if you know a little side street, hidden in alleys behind tall corporate buildings and department stores.

Souvenirs, cow stomach, dog meat? It’s all here.

Market by a large, colorful paifang at its entrance, the Wangfujing snack street invites you to experience the surreal street food selections that we all heard about China.

The Wangfujing SNACK Street While for some it’s a safe, “Western style” pedestrian shopping street where you can stock up on silk scarves, table cloths and PJ’s you will never wear, for others, it’s a place of adventure. And believe me, a very smelly one! Wangfujing snack street is a place where you go if you want to try out world’s most bizarre food! It’s the place where local people serve everything from traditional Chinese dumplings and fried ice cream (absolutely delicious!) to fried scorpions, silkworm cocoons, locusts, sea horses, fried snakes, lizards and even dog meat. The experience of visiting this surreal snack street / market is full of strangest smells, sounds, colors and people from all around the world. It was so surreal that my friends and I decided to attempt to eat the fried scorpions. (Besides eating scorpions, one of my friends also tried a snake, silkworm cocoons and a lizard).

The Day I Ate a Scorpion in China or the Wangfujing Snack StreetLocal people serve here everything from traditional Chinese dumplings and fried ice cream (absolutely delicious!) to fried scorpions, start fish, silkworm cocoons, locusts, sea horses, fried snakes, lizards, cow’s stomach and even dog meat.

The Day I Ate a Scorpion in China or the Wangfujing Snack Street The Day I Ate a Scorpion in China or the Wangfujing Snack Street

The Day I Ate a Scorpion in China or the Wangfujing Snack StreetBut don’t you worry, there is still edible food to enjoy!

The Day I Ate a Scorpion in China or the Wangfujing Snack Street The Day I Ate a Scorpion in China or the Wangfujing Snack Street

The Day I Ate a Scorpion in China or the Wangfujing Snack StreetOnce you step in into this busy snack street, you get hit by a blast of hot and humid air. The smells emanating from small shops tingle your nose. The mixture of dried fish, freshly baked cookies, bodily smells (similar to those inside the locker rooms) make a potent combination. You hold your breath for a moment as you march past the sundry shops.

Wangfujing snack street, you are discovering, is one big adventure.

The Day I Ate a Scorpion in China or the Wangfujing Snack Street

The Day I Ate a Scorpion in China or the Wangfujing Snack StreetFor me, it gets so surreal that my friends and I decide to attempt to eat the deep fried scorpions. Also, besides snacking on scorpions, one of my friends tries eating a snake, silkworm cocoons, and a lizard. Because, apparently, you only live once.

The Day I Ate a Scorpion in China or the Wangfujing Snack Street

Eating a Scorpion

This night, there are two kinds of scorpions on offer: 1) big, black and super creepy-looking ones or 2) smaller, more delicate-looking scorpions.

The Day I Ate a Scorpion in China or the Wangfujing Snack Street

As I’m a kind adventurous woman (as far as food goes), I choose the smaller ones mounted on a stick and roasted on a grill. At first, I’m quite terrified looking at those bugs, with legs still moving; however, I have to pick one of the sticks and Chinese guy at the counter fries it in front of me. 

The taste of a fried scorpion? Very salty and very crunchy but not that bad as I first expected!

Conclusion

The Day I Ate a Scorpion in China or the Wangfujing Snack StreetReflecting back on my experience at the Wangfujing’s snack street I have to say that it was one of the most interesting, unusual and creepiest experiences of my life. Once again, Beijing proved to me how authentic, horrific, and strangely charming it can be. Even though for the rest of my remaining time in Beijing I was eating rice…

What is the most surreal place you have ever visited?

#adventure travel #Asia #budget travel #China #culinary travel

10 Responses to The Day I Ate a Scorpion in China or the Wangfujing Snack Street


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