(At Wangfujing Street)

Stephy: Wangfujing is located in the Dongcheng District of Beijing. It’s an area increasingly considered the heart of the city because of its easy accessibility. Remember we got here by simple subway train ride on Line One. But perhaps for most foreigners, Wangfujing is best-known for its snack streets. There is a popular Chinese saying, “一样东西四条腿,只要不是桌子,就能吃!”If it has four legs and it’s not a table, you can eat it. And such is proven hoofing along this snack street. The rare occasion of gnawing away on a centipede attracts many adventurous eaters. But if consuming wiggling parts just aren’t part of your agenda, surely one of the many food stalls here will satisfy your bite. Eating here is a chance to learn some Chinese phrases to describe how food tastes as well as to order some traditional Chinese snacks.

Stephy: Kevin, hi, 你饿了吗?(Nǐ èle mɑ?)
Kevin: 有一点。(Yǒu yìdiǎn.)
Stephy: 好,我们去小吃街吃吧。(Hǎo, wǒmen qù xiǎochījiē chībɑ.)
Kevin: 好!(Hǎo!)

(At the entrance of Wangfujing Snack Street)

Stephy: Here on Beijing’s east side, 王府井小吃街 or snack street, allows eaters a chance to experience food from all over China – in smaller proportions. Many line the streets, cameras at ready, mouths hovering above Styrofoam, lids to catch the juices of 饺子or dumplings, or to feast on barbecued lamb skewers.

Donghuamen Night Market is located at the northern end of Wangfujing. Red lanterns dot the approximately 90 stalls that make up the night market. The atmosphere is alive with tourists, locals and vendors hawking their specialties, while most of the snacks, aren’t.

The trays are fair game as anything can be threaded kebab-style and then rolled in various spices and sauce. You can choose anything from beef to chicken to these dangling tentacles.

(Vendor fries two barbecued lamb skewers and gives them to Stephy.)

Stephy to vendor: 谢谢。(Xièxiè.)
Stephy to Kevin: 来,来,来!(Lái, lái, lái!)
Stephy: 你觉得羊肉串儿好吃吗?(Nǐ juédé yánɡròuchuànér hǎochīmɑ?)
Kevin: 非常好吃。(Fēichánɡ hǎochī.)

Stephy: Here land meets sea, as fried grasshoppers, with no hop left in them, lay pierced in straight rows next to unmoving starfish. The daring eat creamy-textured, or so it’s been claimed cow hearts and lamb testicles encased in sea mushrooms.

Snakes are easy to pick out, and seahorses look like themselves, save for a bit gray, but other meats are harder to differentiate. With foreigners frequenting the street, many vendors have procured enough English terms to explain the mysterious red, white and pink masses.

(People are eating scorpions.)

Stephy: These guys – well, there’s no need asking what they are. Some find it thrilling or simply guaranteed freshness to choose which set of impaled scorpions gets thrown in the deep fryer.

Vendor: 您要什么?(Nín yào shénme?)
Customer: 我要这个!(Wǒyào zhèɡe.!)
Vendor: 这个?(Zhèɡe?)
Customer: 不是,我要这个。(Búshì, wǒyào zhèɡe.)
Vendor: 要这个?(Yào zhèɡe?)
Customer: 对。(Duì.)

(Vendor fries scorpion.)

Vendor: 味道怎么样?(Wèidào zěnmeyànɡ?)
Customer: 好吃!不过有点咸,外面很脆,里面很软。好吃!(Hǎo chī! Búɡuò yóudiǎnxián, wàimiàn hěncuì, lǐmiàn hěnruǎn. Hǎochī!)

Language points:

Nǐ juédé yánɡròuchuànér hǎochīmɑ?
Do you think the barbecued lamb chunks are delicious?

Wàimiàn hěncuì, lǐmiàn hěnruǎn.
The outside is very crisp. The inside is very soft.