Exquisite, diverse, colourful, flavourful, bizarre, extreme and most importantly alive…These are the words you could use to describe a Chinese food market, where I was keen on experimenting new delights; scorpions or cockroaches for example.
The idea sounds disgusting in the beginning, but we all eat items, that not everyone would approve of. Humanity have been starved in numerous locations for years, and people had to survive even if they would have to eat worms, or drink their own pee. So I was accepting the idea, but what I couldn’t fathom was the fact that they were fried alive and their moving limbs were a witness.
The street booths had awesome displays, very catchy and photogenic. However there were signs that may make one feel uneasy, some animals, for example, the baby ducks in the photograph below. They look stunned and frozen in pain…
There is a number of reported Chinese cruel practices in food preparation; such as eating a monkey brain alive, the dog meat festival, or even roasting duck claws while they are running around. These are facts, the reason is not really clear…Are chinese cruel in general, do they lack compassion??
The culture is certainly different, there is no specific explanation of why insects, and other strange items, “monkey brain” for example, are popular there. One would assume that it’s because of the high protein content and nutritious value. It’s also possible that they slaughter and cook animals alive to ensure the freshness of meat. Regardless of how cruel it seems, who are you to judge and claim higher moral values? Some tribes eat humans,and for some garden snails would make a prestigious meal…
The mood is intriguing, stimulating, and more over, you’ll definitely find a gourmet meal or snack that suits your own taste. It’s also worth to mention that China is not the only country that has such “exotic” and “bizarre” food, but it has the most famous variety; the menu would differ from a region to the other. We all eat customised Chinese at home, but I’ve got to tell you; eating what Chinese would eat in China is entirely different and not for everyone. People are welcoming, curious, if they’d speak few words in english, it’d be welcome and where you from??? And they would be always impressed when I say that I am from Egypt, they would say: ” O wow Pyyyramiids”
Here are some easy to reach street markets, i’d recommend in Beijing to begin with:
Wangfujing Snack Street Location: south of Haoyou Department Store, Wangfujing Business Street, Dongcheng District. Bus Route: 20, 37, 41, 59, 103, 104, 120, 420, 802 (get off at Wangfujing Stop)
Donghuamen Snack Night Market Location: north of Donganmen Street, Dongcheng District. Bus Route: 10, 20, 37, 41, 59, 103, 104, 120, 201, 203, 205, 803
Qianmen Snack Street Qianmen street, either get of the subway on Qianmen station or; Bus Route: 2, 5, 17, 22, 44, 110, 120, 201, 826
All photographs in this post are my own shots, all copyrights are reserved.