Having more than 11 million inhabitants, Beijing has a lot of people to feed.So at almost every city corner, there is another food market. In fact, there are hundreds of different kinds of foods being offered up across town, some coming from recipes that date back literally thousands of years ago, from China and beyond. Expect Hui, Mongolian and Manchurian ethnic flavors as well as foods that date back to the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Beijing is home to some incredible food places especially night markets. You can find anything and everything in these hustling, bustling bazaars:
Wangfujing Food Market
If you’re a first-timer in Beijing, Wangfujing Dajie (Street) is a must see. It has tons of hotels nearby, cool people and stores for everyone.
Donghuamen Street Market
A few minutes away and just around the corner from the Wangfujing food market is its kid brother.
After its pedestrianization, Donghuamen Snack Night Market became the No. 1 snack area in this city. When night falls, the assortment of tasty treats from both northern and southern China, plus the bustling crowds and the rhythmical huckstering become an attraction you shouldn’t miss.
Guijie Street Market
Most restaurants on this street are open around the clock. If you are a night owl, Guijie Street in Dongzhimen Gate is a good place to be. Late nights are usually the busiest times on this street, whose specialty is Spicy Lobster. Picture yourself sitting in an old chair inside an ancient courtyard house appreciating photos from long-ago but most important enjoying the aroma and taste of the succulent dishes.
Our journey began at Wangfujing Snack Street, which sits right next to Wangfujing Street in Dongcheng district, the busiest shopping street in the city. This is a very popular place for tourists and really comes to life at night.
We immediately came face-to-face with an array of exotic street foods like deep-fried insects, meaty kebabs, candied fruits and scorpions. It seems as if any part of any animal on Earth is being sold somewhere here, either on a stick or in a bun.In these markets, you almost feel like you’re hallucinating as you’re hit by the smell and color.
Some people take on the challenge and try to eat some of the bizarre foods like different insects.Some will only try fish or chicken while some may crunch through a scorpion shish kebab. But don’t despair. If you really don’t have the stomach to try the more exotic dishes, then there are stalls of corn-on-the-cobs, vegetables, soy products, spring rolls, kidneys, birds, dumplings and fruits. You don’t necessarily have to try the tarantulas to get the best out of the street markets in Beijing.
Scorpions on sticks are just not a thing for anyone here but tourists. The market is certainly popular among tour groups and foreigners high on too many episodes of “World’s Weirdest Foods”. It’s really more of a bastion of oriental exoticism set up to fulfill Western fantasies.
But definitely, it is an interesting way to see another part of a regular night in Beijing.