This is a random shot I took while exploring the Wangfujing area in Beijing. Wangfujing is one of Beijing’s most famous shopping streets, and an interesting mix of both the old and new China, where you will see vendors selling heaping bowls of noodles on one block, and cheerful young employees flipping burgers at the gleaming McDonald’s on the next block. Or, at one market you’ll find everything from herbal remedies to traditional Chinese dress, and at the nearby shopping mall, Prada bags and the latest iPhone 4S deals.
Located in downtown Beijing, Wangfujing has served as an area of commerce since the middle of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). Today, the area is home to nearly 300 famous Chinese brands and is a very popular place for both tourists and locals alike. One of the biggest draws is the Wangfujing Snack Street, located in traditional hutongs that are densely packed with restaurants and food stalls that line the streets. The restaurants and food stalls serve some very common dishes, but some offerings seem downright bizarre to a Western tourist; I passed by several stalls offering starfish and scorpions on a stick. While I am open to trying just about everything, I couldn’t imagine gnawing on a scorpion, so opted for a snack of noodles and veggies wrapped in a moo shoo pancake (like a Chinese burrito). I’m pretty sure it tasted a million times better than a scorpion on a stick! If you are ever in Beijing, definitely stop by Wangfujing, especially to visit the Snack Street. Whether or not to actually partake in the “snacks” is entirely your decision, however.