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Toan: Eating BIZARRE Foods at the Beijing Night Market

Article #4 in the Student Travel Stories Series from our tour of Beijing, China.
By Toan, Age 18, 11th Grade in Boston. Born in the U.S. to parents from Vietnam.
Eating king spider at Beijing Night Market.

Toan about to eat the “King Spider” at the Night Market.

Q: During our free hour in Beijing’s Night Market, word is that you sampled some INSANE foods. What exactly happened?

A: Well, first I went around trying to look for the scorpion. That was the first food I wanted to eat.

All the exotic foods in the market were lying out raw, and when you paid for them, the vendors deep fried them and put on some salt for you.

At first, I couldn’t find the stall that sold scorpion, so I ended up eating the squid kabob, then the snake kabob instead.

Finally, I found a group of other BPS students gathering around and laughing in front of a stall, and I knew I had finally found the scorpions.

Eating scorpion

Eating the large scorpion. Not as good as the baby scorpion.

The scorpion that I first tried was the baby scorpion. When I initially took a bite out of it, all of the juice came squirting out into my mouth, and it tasted very delicious, and kind of like French fries.

Then I tried one of the bigger scorpions, which was very dark, and very scary looking. I have to say that the big scorpion didn’t taste as good as the small one. All I felt in my mouth was the shell, and there was hardly any meat at all.

Either way, that was pretty fun, eating both the scorpions.

As I walked further down the Night Market road, I tried eating one really weird thing, which was sheep… male parts. Yes, you read that right.

A view of the whole Bizarre Foods Night Market of Beijing.

A view of the whole Bizarre Foods Night Market of Beijing.

This bizarre food didn’t taste as good as I thought it would, because the stench was really strong, and I didn’t like it at all, whatsoever. I mean, who likes to eat male parts, anyway?

My partner in crime, Tuan, didn’t like the sheep parts, either, so he went on and bought a starfish to eat.

The starfish was very crunchy and tasted like crab meat. The inside of it was black, so I believe it was starfish feces. Ewww!

Then, I went on and tried cat and dog meat. Unfortunately, one of the other vendors said it was a hoax for tourists, and the man who sold me the meat was actually selling chicken.

Eating centipede. Look at all the meats in the background!

Eating some sort of crustacean. Crunch crunch!

Anyway, I was not really sure which meat was which anymore, because they all tasted like chicken! Hahahaha!

Moving on. The pig intestines tasted pretty normal, because I have eaten those back in the United States.

The last thing I ingested was one of the things my friend Tuan hated the most: the SPIDER!

I paid 80 Yuan ($13) to eat the Spider King. You can see it in all its glory in the first photo of this article.

Eating the Spider King was actually very good. The stomach of the spider tasted like crab meat, while the rest was just
crunchy.

Eating starfish

Starfish, which “tastes like crabmeat” according to Toan.

Q: So, are these crazy foods typical Chinese foods?

A: No! Our guide explained to us that, though Chinese people do eat a wider variety of foods than Americans, this whole Night Market (or as he called it, “Snack Street”) is really for tourists, not local Chinese people. It was created as something funny and interesting for tourists to do, and a way for local people to make money.

Chinese people are not eating spiders every day. That was just me doing a crazy tourist activity in Beijing!

Q: So we have to know… After eating all those bizarre foods, did your stomach hurt terribly???

eating Snake on a Stick!

Toan’s partner in crime, Tuan, wielding Snake on a Stick!

A: Nope! I was totally fine!!!! But readers, don’t try this at home. I have a stomach of steel because I grew up eating all sorts of things.

Q: What overall reflective thoughts do you have about this one-of-a-kind food experience?

A: Overall, eating all these bizarre foods in the Beijing Night Market was a wonderful experience… and kind of scary as well!

So what do you think, readers? Would YOU ever try such bizarre foods?

Thanks, Toan, for such an entertaining article, and thanks, EF Tours!

Michelle (far left) in the Forbidden City of Beijing, China!
Michelle: Travel to China as a Chinese-American Student
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