This is not Chinese food!

| December 30th, 2010

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Chinese food is famous for two reason: its extreme deliciousness and its weirdness. The later characteristic has a perfect example, the Wangfujing snack street in downtown Beijing. Just google it or YouTube it and you can find a lot of of videos and photos of foreigners amazed by what Chinese people are eating. You can find skin-piled sparrow, cicada, silk worm, inside-out snake, giant grasshopper, penis of various kind of animals and star fish. You name it. Just think of something you don’t dare to eat and they would probably have it on sale on Wangfujing snack street.

Judging from videos of this street’s visitors, they are absolutely enjoying themselves. Maybe not enjoying the food but the weirdly exotic atmosphere where people cook and eat anything.
Some were playing truth or dare there:
“OK, John, truth or dare?”
“Dare”
“Alright, go eat that fried giant spider.”
Some were enjoying talking to the shy and funny food vendors.
“What is this?”
“Sheep penis”
“What?”
“Dick…”and the food vendor started to use hand gesture.
“What?”
“It will make you strong.” the food vendor was now posing like a body builder.
“HAHAHAHA”, the foreigner started LOL.
And some just became wordless like that double rainbow guy.
“What is this?”
“Snake inside-out”
“WOW”
“What is this?”
“Baby silk worm”
“Oh my God!”
“What is this?”
“Fried Starfish”
“Fried Starfish all the way!”

After having fun there some visitors came home and started v/bloging or sharing there experience on Facebook. The conclusion? Chinese eat everything!

But do you find this place strange? As a Chinese who grew up in China, I do. There are two things I find really strange. First, the food vendors can speak English! Although they can’t speak perfect English but they can tell you what kind of worm you are eating and that eating animal penis“make you strong.” Can you imagine someone working in McDonald’s speaking Chinese? Then why can they speak English? Second, I didn’t find many Chinese on these street enjoying their fried spider. Looking around you can see so many foreigners. If this place is indeed a good place for snack why are the Chinese people missing?

Because this place is only meant for tourists and especially foreigners. The food there were made to be weird so it will attract more attention. And it worked. Some came here don’t know what this place is about, many people came in order to be surprised by Chinese food. Fried worm on a stick? I won’t even call that food. Here is a review on Dazhong review, a famous Chinese review site.

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It states: “This place is meant to be a rip-off for people who come to Beijing for the first time! None of the stores are run by local people and all of them are very dirty. I have diarrhea after every time I go there. So new comers of Beijing, do not come here. Wangfujing is also just a shopping center for none-locals and foreigners.”

You can certainly find more review of Wangfujing snack street but the above one said enough. You may ask how can one find real Chinese food. The best  way is of course let your local friend guide you. Besides that I have three more pieces of advice to help you to have a pleasant dining experience in China.

1. If the vendor can speak English, leave.
2. If the place is full of Laowai (foreigner) like you, leave.
3. Don’t convert the currency. Treat one Yuan like how you treat one dollar/euro back home. Real good food won’t cause that much.

50 Comments | Leave a comment | Comment feed

  1. Eason says:

    I guess it’s not a bad thing that China Hush is blocked now.

  2. James says:

    The wangfuying food market is just a small version of what China is to the world: a dirty factory that sells low quality products to stupid laowais -like me-.

  3. Leo says:

    lol, how can those foreigners get on facebook in Beijing…Orz

  4. frd says:

    I love reading all the post on China Hush…am in China now! well this afternoon i just find out that China Hush is block! i can’t believe it….!
    Anyway…. I can still read from this site….with the 30 days free VPN given to me by China Hush……….thks

  5. Eric Havaby says:

    “Can you imagine someone working in McDonald’s speaking Chinese?”

    Er, I don’t have to. Everyone working in McDonald’s in China speaks Chinese.

    What are you talking about?

    • SinoSoul says:

      Don’t be obtuse. Writer meant “Can you imagine someone working in an American McDonald’s…”

      Earlier this month, we walked upon Wang Fu Jing on accident & immediately knew it was a tourist trap. It seems all the vendors were simply selling similar prepackaged foods (ala SYSCO or US Foodservice). Walking down then Dong Hua Men was even more depressing, and we quickly crossed the street just to get away from the systematic commercialization (or, dare I say, capitalization) of the Beijing xiao chi.

      Question, was the street food scene like this PRE-BJ Olympics?

      • Laonei says:

        Why would you expect someone working in an American McDonald’s to know Chinese? Chinese is not an international language – English is. I’m Swedish, and I wouldn’t expect anyone working in an American McDonald’s to know Swedish either. However, I would expect international travellers in Sweden to be able to get by using English.

        I think the Beijing street food is lacking compared to other cities in China, and I believe it has a lot to do with the Olympics. I read somewhere that they shut down a lot of it before the Olympics…

      • gongjiao says:

        no man the scene totally sold out to efficiency and more gainful methods

        who would have thought Beijing, the capital of China, wouldnt stay true to its street food roots. the betrayal!!

        how about this rule. if you are being charged by cheng guan while you are eating street food, you are getting real street food….

      • orangechinacat says:

        WFJ food street used to be a random collection of street vendors, many from out of town during the 1990s. They sold all kind of food and some weird stuff too. Seemed to be lots of locals/chinese customers. Sometime at the end of the 1990s it all got regulated – standard carts, clothing and some attempt at adherence to food and hygeine. So if you think it’s dirty now you should have seen it then. In the 1990s many beggars and homeless people ate there from the leftovers and rubbish bins. It’s worth noting that the english levels of the vendors is VERY low, in my experience, not at all fluent, just a few words. Also it is worth noting that the creatures consumed are often imported into China from other parts of Asia (the spiders, snakes etc) as there is a shortage of wildlife in China. BTW the only weird stuff I can remember from that time being sold on the streets were live scorpions which then got deepfried, grasshoppers, rabbits, turtles, and so which seemed to be brought into Beijing from the countryside (apart from all the penis things at certain restaurants). Tho as China gets wealthier, the eating and consumption generally of exotic animals seems to be increasing – eg endangered species from Africa.

    • notalocalpeople says:

      Actually, the workers in my McDonald’s do not speak much English if any at all. Don’t assume that because it is an international company that all their workers speak English or any other language for that matter.

  6. Laonei says:

    “If the vendor can speak English, leave.”
    Yes, knowledge is unacceptable. We can’t have that. Send them to re-education, that knowledge-whoring, entrepreneurial youth of today. Despicable.

    • HW says:

      I think you haven’t read the whole post. He means that if the vendor can speak English, then it’s most likely that the vendor is specifically targeting foreigners, and thus not serving “true” Beijing food. Calm down a little.

      • Laonei says:

        You think wrong. Reading the article in full made me realize the author’s narrowmindedness. I just personally believe that not knowing English is one of the biggest obstacles for political change in China, and I think that promoting ignorance always is stupid. And I am super calm, Mr Jump-to-conclusions.

        Stop supporting the retrogressive evolution 😉

        • Carl says:

          I suppose the greek city states that had came up with the idea of democracy were all english speakers.

          • Laonei says:

            No offence, but that’s one of the stupidest comment I’ve read in quite some time. Thank you for making my day:)

  7. Alleycat says:

    Apparently the Guo-li-zhuang restaurant in Beijing is a specialist penis and testicle emporium that serves several varieties of steamed, roasted and boiled penis, mainly to wealthy businessmen and Communist party officials (who, truth be told, are often one and the same):

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/travel/holiday_type/food_and_travel/article3552377.ece

  8. xino says:

    China Hush is blocked? because they review the bullshit that happens in China?

    WELL FUCK YOU CHINA.
    China can go farking fuck themselves!

    Especially those governements who control the chinamen.
    I never liked that country because they are too racist and love following a whiteman’s ass all the time.

    the only thing I like about chinese is their food.

    • Laonei says:

      Haha, just don’t start screaming those things on the GZ subway…

      Is the food that you like described in this article btw? just wondering 😉

    • Carl says:

      lol, china hater.

      so why are you even on this site? to reinforce your anger?

      positive feedback loop.

    • CaoNiMa says:

      calm down and go back to Stormfront. bye bye

      • xino says:

        yea…I’ll probably get my ass beat down like that white man in the train.

        no i like their food generally.

        also love martial arts.

        but lately their martial arts is full of nationalism. Always portraying that Japanese are the evil ones terrorising China.

  9. ash says:

    You guys do know it’s the ISP provider who blocks, not the government. The Chinese government has a list or suggestions of web-pages that are hurtful to their image.
    ( regardless if it truly hurt full or not) and…. service providers for the most part follow. Some small towns, with no name service providers will have Google, most places will not. Some universities are very relaxed on this rule and their internet can get you access Google documents. (something also that is proclaimed to being blocked) and very 5 star style luxury hotels even have porn on demand with non censored genitalia. In some districts that can get you a fine, followed up by being held by police for questioning.

    It’s also why you get many reports of people claiming its true and false. NO not every single person saying Google isn’t blocked is a 5 RMB poster. They truly are in China and they can access Google.

    FYI pro tip. Encrypted data for right now automatically passes through most Chinese fire walls with out being deferred or timing out.

    Oh I forgot I’m on Chinahush :: puts on his +10 anti-flame-suit”

    • Laonei says:

      I wrote a reply earlier, but it didn’t make it…. weird. Anyway, I was talking about how google is accessible, but some keywords and search results are restricted… ah, can’t bother again.

  10. Bai ren says:

    hit beijing this summer. hit baidu for good food etc translations. found a super awsome place for d’door knobs on line 13 ; anod another for a a similar dish in the city. when one puts in a little time useing baidu and google translate then maps its worth the time.

  11. BB says:

    Since when Chinese food is popular? Abroad of China or at least outside of Asia it is nearly impossible to find due to its unpopularity. The things you find are a good crossection of asian food in general

    • john digmeme says:

      Chinese food is everywhere, sold anywhere from high class establishments with rotating centerpieces to the most dangerous american ghetto through bulletproof plexi-glass walls. In Australasia and North America you cannot walk one block without encountering at least one restaurant serving bastardized ‘Chinese’ cuisine (cheese wanton’s, anyone?). I bet you can find Chinese food sold in the imperial holdings of Angola and the Congo, too.

      Between 1984 and 1997 the number of Dim Sum restaurants around the globe increased exponentially.

      Where are you living, Antarctica? A space capsule?

  12. xian says:

    Roast starfish tastes like a cookie made of castor oil and cough syrup ^^

  13. Andy says:

    I can imagine people speaking Chinese at McDonalds. Some of the McDonalds in Los Angeles have Chinese writing the employees can speak Chinese. Truth of the matter is that in Los Angeles, the Chinese population is so large, the businesses cater to Chinese clients. This is especially true of the banks. Even American owned banks advertise in Chinese and have Chinese speaking workers.

  14. elaine says:

    can see chinese food in all food

  15. ChasL says:

    Yeah, the first time I visited Paris, they tried to feed me bull pen!s stuffed with potato. Delicacy my a$$.

  16. Peter says:

    It is not the martial art that is “nationalism”. It is historical fact that is. Think of it like German killing millions of Jews, its the same undeniable fact, only not internationally recognized because US tried to protect Japan after WW2 due to the sale of bio-weapon deal (same poison gas research used on live human in North East China during WW2). The thing is Asian as a whole are still at grudge over this because Japan as the whole country never recognized their crime unlike German crime toward Jews. Imho, Japanese method of massacre is by far worse than what German did to the Jews, which left heavy scars and humiliations of places they terrorized such as (Nanjing city, and many other places in China, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Hongkong, Taiwan, Okinawa – originally a vassal state of China).

    Japan government simply offered no recognition, apology nor any compensation after all these years. Unlike the Jews whom were officially compensated and recognized, Japanese war victims are confronted with the distorted historical fact of Japan providing “economical support” to them all those years.

    Such, is reflected in literature and media. Look, even after much was done to justify the Jews’ suffering in WW2 (among other groups who suffered under Nazi Germany), all literature about WW2 don’t show Jews hugging and kissing German soldiers. So don’t expect Chinese movies to even remotely promote Japan who the whole time in attempt to cover up their crime as if they even did a great thing.

    Keep in mind, they never directed their anger toward Japanese as the whole nation and its people. As well as Japanese people (at least in a small portion) also recognized the deeds their government had done to others in WW2, despite the cover-up made by Japan government.

    • Peter says:

      My apology, this reply was made for Xino from way up there.

      “but lately their martial arts is full of nationalism. Always portraying that Japanese are the evil ones terrorising China.”

      Somehow, instead of replying to that message, my message was appended at the bottom. I am sorry if you found my message out of place.

  17. SomebodyHuang says:

    YOU STUPID PEOPLE ARE GIVING CHINESE PEOPLE A BAD REP! NOW GET OUT OF MY COUNTRY OR …

    I dunno. Be badmouthed?

  18. Gary Rice says:

    Why has China Hush been banned

  19. Gary Rice says:

    I was advised to avoid these places as the quality and food safety has dropped over the years

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