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China 5: Wangfujing Snack Street (deep-fried scorpions anyone?)

Eating adventurous food in China was not on my to-do list; I’m too much of a girlie wuss. But I wanted to see some and this was easily done.

We walked down Jingshan Park hill, past where the last Ming dynasty emperor hung himself, back onto the main road and along a route Mike had sussed out. Walking was becoming highly tedious and I was hanging out for a cold drink at the Emperor Hotel rooftop bar.

chinese ladies waking
Unfortunately a wedding reception at the Emperor Hotel rooftop bar put paid to that whimsical notion.

On and on we walked until we arrived at Wangfujing Street. Not the biggest flashest street in China’s capital city, but the largest modern one we’d been to thus far.


But shopping-schmopping, we needed food and drink. I was in no mood for a lengthy walk to find something so we sought the relative certainty of a mall. The restaurant was a completely forgettable experience, but job done.

Continuing back along the street we came upon the entry to a market – I didn’t know it at the time but it goes by the name of Wangfujing Snack Street. It begged exploration and lured me in with the first stall: the sight of skewered scorpions, seahorses and starfish was simultaneously ghastly and fascinating. Especially the wriggling scorpions.

I watched enthralled as someone bought a scorpion stick and started munching.

While it’s possible – I guess – that some people enjoy the taste, a couple of days later a guide explained that such creatures are believed to have medicinal properties. For example, seahorses can apparently be just the ticket for men’s virility.

We made our way down the crowded street and back again, spying other noteworthy offerings such as huge black centipedes and huge black spiders. Such a shame we’d already eaten. We ventured down one off-shoot toward a female performer – presumably a drawcard for the eateries down that way but the noise was fairly horrendous.

Time to finally call it a day. Except for the final few distractions.

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. No way Jose could I eat an insect- that is unless I were starving. 🙂 Your experiences in China are surely a hot topic for conversation. There was a little bit of just about anything you’d ever want to know about China. One photo looked hazy. I’m wondering if that was snog?

    17 October 2014
    • I’m with you on that Yvonne – I would need to be close to death before ingesting anything with six, eight or heaven forbid more legs. And maybe not even then. It could be a tad smoggy, though it was evening and the light was fading and I had opted for the lazier option of taking photos with my phone.

      17 October 2014
  2. “Girlie wuss” — you and me both, Hayley. Not sure I could even LOOK at deep-fried scorpions … and just reading about black centipedes and spiders makes my skin crawl. I couldn’t look at enlarged versions of your photos!

    17 October 2014
    • Haha (sorry) – yes they’re just, well, nasty. The idea of cooked seahorses and starfish on the other hand makes me sad.

      18 October 2014
  3. Fascinating, I love wandering around places like that – but I agree, very sad to see those seahorses on sticks.

    23 October 2014
  4. I’m 100% with you on the not eating insects thing – knowing me, I’d probably spew up if I did, I’m queasy like that! but, all said and done, a great experience to see all of these ‘treats’ being served up. I think chicken’s feet is the most adventurous that I’ve ever been! 😀 so good to hear about your latest adventure, Hayley, and thanks for sharing it with us along with your stunning photos xx

    29 October 2014
    • Crikey you’re more adventurous than I then Lottie! Thank you, kind lady 🙂 x

      31 October 2014
  5. Gorgeous photos and so well reported. Those food photos are to me like photos from another planet.

    11 November 2014
  6. Bullfrog was nice. Did you spot any of those?

    19 November 2014
    • Gee, I missed those, what a shame! :/

      21 November 2014
  7. Is everything okay, Hayley? We miss you.

    27 November 2014

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