Beijing Street Eats


Never have I seen so many people eating as in Beijing, at all times of day. I love it! In Moscow, for instance, you just don’t see people walking and snacking, unless they’re brandishing a Starbucks cup.

Street eating makes a lot of sense; why wait ages to get the waiter’s attention when you could have your food in one minute flat, and eat as you shop? Plus, while Beijing’s prices seem to be increasing rapidly, these street eats are still very cheap. We’re talking between 0.50c and $1 for a good-sized snack.

The best places for street eating include Ghost Street (Gui Jie), Wangfujing night market (and the smaller day market), and the hutong (the many, many alleyways around scattered throughout Beijing). I was staying right by Nanluoguxiang hutong, which is just paradise for eating. Wudaoying is also cool, though quieter, and indeed a little more cafe-based. But in general, don’t worry if you forget your provisions while out sightseeing; street food of some sort can be found at all the main sites, including the most rugged parts of the Great Wall.

And on the street you’ll find some of the weirdest, most delicious foods. If, like me, you don’t read Mandarin, you might not even know quite what you’re ordering. That, of course, is part of the fun.

In my opinion, with no real order, is the most awesome of street food. Unsurprisingly, I’ve eaten almost all of this stuff so far. But I welcome more suggestions! What else should I eat while in China?:

•Triangular red bean cakes with cream
•Fresh lemonade sold in litre containers
•Bubble tea (with the giant tapioca pearls) and milk
•Milk tea, hot or iced (in general, though, do be careful of ice, as it’s sometimes made from tap water)
•Warm custard tarts (if you’ve had the Portuguese version, you’d find these very similar)
•Potted yoghurt in reusable jars (just look for the empty jars, as you see above, to find someone who sells these)
•Meat on sticks–pork, chicken, scorpions, you name it.
•Golden bread. (I’d liken this to a big loaf of amazing brioche. The one below I got at the Forbidden city, of all places.)
•Churros. The trendy food of the moment, I guess? Why not!
•Fried tofu with spicy sauce and cilantro. Make sure to include some of the stinky tofu, too!

Get eating, and I’ll see you in Xi’an!



4 Comments on “Beijing Street Eats”

  1. Stanislava says:

    Nice! What about the traditional Peking Duck and these scary Century eggs?

  2. Jean says:

    Oh so jealous of your travels! I must make it to china!

  3. hcrowther says:

    Oh, just ate some scorpions today, no big deal.

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