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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
  • Oh my gosh you brave soul! I can’t believe you ate a scorpion, haha did it taste like Chicken? That’s what people always say weird things taste like. I’m half Chinese but I’ve never actually been to China, it’s definitley somewhere I plan to visit soon hopefully. I’ve been too Hong Kong a few times though and my family there always have weird dishes like chicken feet, pigs blood and fish intestines. While they’re eating that I too just eat plain rice haha! The weird thing is, I use to eat stuff like that when I was younger until I found out what it was. Now I wouldn’t be able to stomach it at all! Pat on the back to you though!

    Sally ~ DiagonSally

    • Hi Sally! Thank you SO MUCH for such a long and great comment! (And for the pat on the back as well!!) I really appreciate your time in writing it! x The scorpion tasted something like a popcorn for me! 😀 Crunchy and very salty! Overall, it was OK to eat! Even though, I wouldn’t snack on it again! haha! Also, what an interesting food choices in Hong Kong! I haven’t heard of people who eat pigs blood! Sounds completely crazy! Talking about the chicken feet, a lot of my friends who are Chinese eat it and, from what I’ve seen, they really enjoy it! All in all, China is a fascinating country even though it has some weird food choices! But you know what they say, sometimes it’s OK to step out of your comfort zone! x ^^ Hugs and kisses!

  • Adam Nichols

    Looks amazing! Love your blog! Adamslifeadventure.blogspot.com

    • Hello Adam! Thanks for stopping by! I’m really glad that you enjoy reading my blog! Thanks again for a visit and a comment! Your blog is also great! I’m definitely subscribing! ^^ Greetings!

  • Tazhi Luxe

    You’re so adventurous! Love this blog, and love this post. I like seeing people try new things and your pictures made it really easy to live vicariously through this post. I’ve eaten a few strange things in my lifetime but I haven’t tried any bugs yet, and don’t think I will any time soon. But the best part is that your enthusiasm comes through really strongly in your writing and it makes it so easy to follow along. Well done.

    Tazhiana
    tazhiluxe.com

    • THANK YOU SO MUCH Tazhiana! You are so sweet! This is perhaps the best comment I’ve ever received! I’m constantly trying to improve the flow, voice, and style of my writing so your comment means a lot to me! Thanks again! And good luck with your blog as well! I checked it yesterday and it’s great! So, let’s keep in touch! x

  • Ilse Daniëlle

    OMG I loved reading this post!! So amazing you could be there and try scorpion! I always like to try new strange foods, and I think the Wangfujing snack street would be a good place for me to go wild :p I will deff put it on my list if we ever go to Bejing!

    xxx Ilse
    http://www.ilsedanielle.com

    • Hey Ilse! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog! Yes, eating a scorpion was definitely a crazy experience! (As well as being in China!). If you ever find yourself in Beijing, visit the Wangfujing street! It’s amazing!!! Hugs and kisses! xx

  • I’ve never heard of this place until now and it seems like a fun place to visit. Definitely have to add this on my exploration list. Thank you for the post!

    • Hey Chris! Thank you so much for stopping by! I’m happy you found this post useful! Have an awesome time in China! I’m sure you going to love it! Best Wishes!