Beijing is mental. I say that in the most endearing way possible! With buzzing streets and historical havens hidden around ever corner, you will undoubtedly feel as though you're walking through a scene from The Last Emperor. From GREAT walls to FORBIDDEN cities, Beijing was definitely not shy of offering us amazing sites, rich history, incredible culture and of course crazy FOOD. From fried scorpions to fabulous lamb kebabs, candy apples and colorful candy floss, lets just say there's something for everyone.
Now sure, you can gander at the ridiculous street food of Wanfujing's snack street but come on, some things just should not be eaten (insert coiled fried snack perched on display). You'd have to be crazy to waste calories on such a hideous creature. Despite the handful of vendors you don't want to step foot near due to the squirming skewered scorpions there are still a number of delightful treats that can be sought out amongst the chaos of Wanfujing Snack street along with MANY others areas in Bejing. Here are my Top 7 Street Eats when visiting Beijing.
1. Bing Tanghulu (冰糖葫芦) Sugar Coated Fruit
Talk about fake fruit am I right or what? With a crunchy candy coating and a fresh fruit inside, it’s hard to walk by these perfectly prepared treats! Think candy apple but with a thinner simple syrup coating. Delightfully crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside, you will inevitably find yourself slurping up the fruit juice and liking your fingers clean of this lovely treat. Find it on Wanfujing Snack Street Beijing, Dongcheng, Wangfujing St, 东华门.
Shou Zhua Bing(手抓并)
Let's just say we were all smiles after stopping at this street side stall. Unsure of what exactly it was we were ordering, the ladies ordering beside us kindly explained it to be type of 'noodle' topped with a fried egg and a variety of different fillings. Upon prior research I discovered that this dish was a crepe like noodle topped with a fried egg, hot dog, cilantro, red onion, sweet and sour sauce and spicy seasoning. This noodle/crepe was chewy, flavourful and an all around delightful snack. Find this located around 32-36 North East Third Ring Road Chaoyang District Beijing, China.
Slicin and Dicin the Shou Zhua Bing.... LIKE A BOSS
Spring Pancake chūnbǐng (春餅)
Find this snack. You won't regret it. Grilled to crispy perfection and stuffed with beansprouts making it basically a giant spring roll (minus the deep fryer) you will undoubtedly be licking your lips the rest of this street stretch. Grab one on Wanfujing Snack Street Beijing, Dongcheng, Wangfujing St, 东华门.
Jian Bing (煎饼)
DO NOT LEAVE BEIJING WITHOUT TRYING THIS AMAZING BREAKFAST (also suitable for ANY other time of the day). We're talking savory crepe stuffed with every good food sensation! Crispy fried wonton wrappers, spicy chili sauce, sweet hoisin, fragrant cilantro (or coriander for you non- North Americans) fresh cracked eggs all stuffed inside a wheat and mung bean crepe. Word of advice, don't share it with anyone... You'll want this delightful dish all to yourself. You can find this in Houhai, Shichahai, Xicheng, Beijing, China
The maker of Jian Bing... AKA THE MAN.
Chuan’r (串儿) Lamb Kebabs
You will inevitably find your self seeing people eating a variety of meats on what appears to be a thin sword-like skewers throughout the streets of Beijing. Now I know it just looks like meat on a stick (which it is) but this lamb is perfectly grilled over open flames and rolled in delightful seasoning (not sure exactly what it was, but it was delicious). Bite after bite, you will find yourself loving this Beijing classic! Find it in Houhai, Shichahai, Xicheng, Beijing, China
Lao Beijing Suannai (老北京酸奶) Beijing Yogurt
Seeing these adorable jars perched outside of pretty much ALL Beijing snack shops and restaurants, naturally my curiosity got the best of me. Upon asking the lady at the shop what I could expect within this adorable package, she informed me that it was Beijing egg.... Clearly the Beijing name did not translate for after blindly consuming this substance I was quick to realize it was quite similar to Yop, a drinkable yogurt we have in Canada. This Beijing staple was lovely, not too sweet and had the perfect drinkable consistency keeping it thick enough to make you feel like you were having a treat, while thin enough to easily consume and quench your thirst. I found this bevvy on Wanfujing Snack Street Beijing, Dongcheng, Wangfujing St, 东华门.
Chinese Cotton Candy (棉花糖)
Come on foodies, what's not to love! Find this beautiful cotton candy bouquet in Houhai , Shichahai, Xicheng, Beijing, China.
Travellers, I know Beijing is often clouded (see what I did there) with ideals as to what one can expect when travelling to this city, well let me set you straight. Beijing is a wonderful city full of friendly people and great eats. So brush up on your Mandarin and take a jaunt over to China's darling capital city. Your stomach will thank you.
Buckle up foodies, cause you're in for a wild ride in Beijing.
In the mean time, you stay hungry Hong Kong. And remember, your diet starts tomorrow.