Bizaare Street Food in China: Ish Eats Beijing

Ok, so is it true that they eat anything in China?
On a recent trip, my travel buddies and I came across some fairly nasty things. After years of enjoying street food in Taiwan, we decided to check out if they have similar stuff in Beijing. The night market (Shi Lin) we go to in Taiwan has an entire food section which we crash before heading out to look for bargain shopping deals. In Beijing however, we stumbled upon this night market dedicated entirely to food.

According to my friend Lyndall, the place is called Wang Fu Jing. 🙂 But I don’t think you can get there by saying that to the taxi driver. We needed someone to write it down in Chinese characters haha.

The market started out normal enough with a row of stalls selling candied fruits which were so perfect they looked like plastic. They were nice and fresh when we tried them though!

Further along it started getting a bit strange. But for a Filipino, seafood on sticks is no biggie:

A few more stalls later, we finally started seeing stuff that could be called exotic. There were all sorts of offal (internal organs) on sticks! You can find liver, hearts and intestines along with some odd-looking caterpillar-like shrimp. For the faint of heart, there were also sticks of harmless chicken wings:

And now the real fun begins! Sticks of fat juicy worms or larvae of some kind! Please don’t ask me which kind. I didn’t bother to ask. :p

Here’s a close-up 🙂 I’m sure Bear Grylls or Timon and Pumbaa will just be giddy with excitement!

So, I know I said there were sticks of seafood, but I wasn’t too pleased to see seahorses on sticks. More because I was sad for them and not because they were gross:

Finally, we came across huge bamboo steamers filled with our favorite street-fare! xiao long bao!!!!! 🙂 These were the most normal-looking items in the entire market so we were grateful to have something to settle our somersaulting stomachs.

After feasting on those, we saw some cute smooth crabs. We didn’t try these since we didn’t want to eat crabs on the street (plus I’m allergic…excuses, I know) but they looked really interesting!

Then, we came across mini siopaos that were filled with all kinds of stuffing from chives, to pork to chicken and some mysterious stuff we can’t figure out. In China, it could be anything :p

Then, of course, a trip to a Chinese food market would not be complete without the customary bugs on sticks 🙂

Well, crickets were fine (no we didn’t try them) but SCORPIONS???

And these look suspiciously like giant roaches :/

They also had all sorts of unfamiliar other creatures and variations of otherwise familiar food but were slightly different from what we’re used to. Check out these neat looking striped octopus tentacles:

I never imagined that starfish could be eaten. I don’t suppose they taste like chicken.

Lastly, the uni (sea urchin) looked nice and fresh. This was at least familiar. 🙂 Brings me back to Boracay where we asked some boatmen to fetch some uni from the sea and crack them open right in our boat 🙂

After an evening walking around here and trying out all sorts of stuff (not really trying much to be honest), I think I’m ready to go back to my good old isaw and fishballs. The market looks nice and was surprisingly clean. I say surprising because this place is really posh. No sticky floors and odd smells. There were rubbish bins every couple of stalls and not a single fly could be spotted! I guess everything is worth at least one try. Ok, except maybe the scorpions and the roaches. Happy eating!