DongHuaMen – Beijing’s Culinary Gauntlet

January 28, 2013 at 7:44 pm , ,

Donghuamen is a night market specializing in exotic, unusual snacks, catering primarily to out-of-towners. Taking up several blocks near the busy Wangfujing pedestrian mall, this culinary gauntlet offers everything from bull testicles and octopus tentacles to more innocuous fare like coconut juice and dessert jellies. Skewered silkworms, starfish, baby sharks and sea horses share counters with chicken kebab, steamed buns, Inner Mongolian cheese and noodle soups. Friendly vendors scream out English-language approximations of their products’ names and are happy to pose for photos, but take note: if you take an instant picture like a Polaroid or Instax, these folks may want to keep it for themselves.

Donghuamen food safety standards were elevated during the 2008 Olympics, but we can’t vouch for everything. Nonetheless, Shien and Zo braved rows of steaming pots and mystery meats to sample locusts, snake skin, a hairy spider, a scorpion, and perhaps the scariest of all snacks, stinky tofu – all for your entertainment. If you try just one thing, we highly recommend the locust!

Donganmen Dajie
Opening hours: 4pm-10pm (some say 6pm-9pm, other claim 3pm-10pm, so why just show up around 6pm to be safe)
Just north of Wangfujing pedestrian mall
Subway stop: Line 1 to Wangfujing

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