Thursday, March 3, 2011

Travel Photo of the Day: Crispy Scorpions and Grubs for Sale, Beijing, China

There are lots of interesting things to eat in China, especially Beijing, where city markets are filled with things that look fairly run-of-the-mill to Western eyes, such as skewered meat, chicken or pork, rice cakes, spring rolls, fried crab balls and eggplant, but other items are completely new and, frankly, a bit scary. If you have a brave heart and a strong constitution, it's a very interesting experience, to say the least (although I must insert here that I have never gotten sick on street food, only restaurant food. My theory is that, at a street food stall, everything is where you can see it, you can tell if it's fresh or not and it's all cooked to order).

In December 2003, when we visited the late night Beijing markets, also on offer were deep-fried tarantulas, crispy scorpions, fried grubs, grasshoppers, starfish, eels, octopus, century eggs, dog meat, fried honey bees and skewers of sheep testicles. There are of course lots of more delectable sounding options like Shanghai Dumplings, spicy grilled lamb, pancakes, noodles and sweet cakes and fruits. It's an amazing experience to walk through these markets: the sights, the spicy scents, the vibrant colors, the warmth of the grills and woks, the cacophony and the delicious tastes create an exotic mix of Chinese life that will stay with you for a long time.     

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