Adventurous foodies who find themselves in Beijing would be remiss to skip out on the Donghuamen Night Market, located at the northern end of the Wangfujing business district. Since 1984, stalls at the market have been opening up at nightfall to shock visitors with bizarre treats from both northern and southern China.
All of the stalls list their menus in both Mandarin and English, but that won’t make the exotic offerings less shocking. Centipedes and scorpions lay skewered on trays, or sometimes even wriggling around, still alive. Snakes, spiders, sea urchin, and starfish are also featured, along with an assortment of body parts such as sheep testicles, bull penis, chicken hearts, and a variety of kidneys. A particular favorite of visitors are the deep-fried crickets, as well as silkworm cocoons.
If you’re not in the mood for such outlandish eats, never fear. The stalls at Donghuamen also offer an impressive array of noodles, soups, kebabs, and dumplings, all with more traditional meats such as beef and chicken, as well as tofu. Vegetarians will enjoy the stuffed eggplant, fried pancakes, strawberry and banana skewers, and fresh corn on the cob. The market also features delicious pita bread stuffed with various kinds of meat.
Some stall owners may try and inflate prices for tourists, but do not be discouraged—haggling and bargaining is all part of the experience.