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.
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.