Beijing boasts of a great many things – a modern metropolis, rich culture, and glorious history. It also threads into its vast blanket of wonderment some of the best street food in the world. The street food of Beijing is a brilliant conflation of Hui, Mongolian and Manchurian flavours, whilst including the ancient styles of the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Tourists and travellers, with the appetites of kings, can be seen crowding around little push carts peddling small plates filled with delicious dumplings and bowls of slurpy noodle soup. But where do you find these carts, these dumplings, these soups? There are many streets in the corridors of Beijing where you can treat your taste buds to the best of Chinese cuisine without burning a hole in your pockets.
If you’re looking for a dazzling array of different foods from all over China, head to Wangfujing Snack Street. Apart from selling exotic deep-fried insects, scorpions, crabs, lobsters, shrimp and other meats, Wangfujing Snack Street also sells the special meat kebab and Tanghulu (candied fruit), both of which are local delicacies. It is popular with tourists and locals alike.
In Chinese, “Jiumen” means Nine Gates. Jiumen Snacks gets its name from the nine gates of ancient Beijing. It is made up of hundreds of street food vendors, and is located inside several narrow lanes and alleys of Beijing. Well-arranged and displayed, clusters of food and drinks adorn the Jiumen area. These alleys are home to nearly 200 different varieties of Chinese snacks. Don’t be surprised if at first glance the alley ways don’t look very busy, as the stalls are sometimes hidden around the corner.
Photo courtesy of Royalty-free Google images
Niu Jie Muslim Street occupies an area of about 35.9 hectares with people from more than 20 minority groups living here. The largest and oldest mosque, Niu Jie Mosque, is located here. Everything here is filled with the exotic flavour of the minority groups. So is the food. The famous Turpan Restaurant offers visitors genuine Uygur food.
Tourists can find the most natural and simple flavours of Old Beijing on this street by following the wafting aromas. Located at the northern entrance of Wangfujing Street, Donghuamen Night Market is the most famous snack street in Beijing, popular with both locals and tourists. After its pedestrianization, Donghuamen Snack Night Market became the No. 1 snack street in Beijing. When the night falls, the assortment of tasty treats from both northern and southern China, plus the bustling crowds and the rhythmic huckstering offer you a treat for all your senses.
Most restaurants on this street are open round-the-clock. If you are a night owl Gui Street in Dongzhi Gate is a good place to spend your time. The late hours of the night are usually the busiest on this street. The spicy Lobster is a must-try here. This makes for the perfect meal after a late night of enjoying Beijing’s nightlife.
Find your nearest Asian Store