Squirming scorpions on a stick. Juicy Beatles. Crispy grasshoppers. If any of that sounds appetizing, Beijing street eats are for you. If not, don’t worry. Hias Gourmet is there to show you that Beijing street food is much more than insects on a stick.
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For the Curious
As I stared at the squirming scorpion in bewilderment, Victoria, our Hias Gourmet Food Tour guide, chimed in. “They are for show. For the tourists.” Thank God. We were in the busy Wangfujing Eat Street, our first stop of the night, and I was starting to question what Beijing street food was all about. Victoria went on to explain that this street was for tourists, and although we sampled a few spots, the real Beijing street food was to come.
We did try a few interesting Beijing eats at the Wangfujing Eat Street with chòu dòufu being my favourite. This fermented tofu treat is also known as stinky tofu. It has a blue cheese flavour and is incredibly spicy– two things I love. It also goes down easier than a live scorpion.
Other favorites were a sweet ground almonds snack as well as Turkish kebab. The later was not expected on this Hias Gourmet Street Food Tour but proved a reminder of how diverse the food culture is.
What makes Beijing Street Food Distinct
As we walked to the Donghuamen Night Market, the local favourite for Beijing street food, Victoria expanded on the diversity of the different cooking methods used in China. Food in Beijing tends to be greasier, Shanghai spicier, and Hong Kong bland but fresher.Victoria also explained that Beijing locals love the sweet side of things. This became clear on our next stop.
The Donghuamen Night Market is lined with vendors serving up Beijing street food specialties. First up on the second half of my Hias Gourmet Street Food Tour was bingtanghulu – a sugar-coated fruit that tasted like a candied crabapple – and it was delicious. Sweet, tart, crunchy, amazing.
The “dessert for dinner” theme continued with my favourite Hias Gourmet Street Food Tour eat of the night – Pineapple sticky rice. OMG.
OMG, I just used OMG in a post. It was that good.
Then there was dumplings and steam buns. So. Very. Full.
Let Hias Gourmet be your Street Food Guide
Our Hias Gourmet street food tour ended prematurely as we just couldn’t sample anymore. Although Victoria had her favourites to show us, she let us pick and choose what to try along away. This was great but also detrimental as we couldn’t fit all of her favourites in! Nonetheless, her insight and love of Beijing Street food made for a fun and tasty evening.
Those looking for a great way to sample Beijing street eats should give Hias Gourmet Street Food Tours a shout – just be sure to show up hungry!
Hias Gourmet Street Food Tour Good to Know
Hias Gourmet Tour Cost: US$74 per person
Includes: Personal guide, lots of eats.
Don’t Miss: Candied fruit, steam buns, and insects on a stick…if that’s your thing.
What say you?
Thoughts on the Hias Gourmet Food Tour in Beijing?
Let’s hear it!
Although I was provided a complimentary Hias Gourmet Street Food Tour,
the experience, opinions, and decision to pass on fried bugs was my own.