There’s a Chinese saying, “For the people food is their heaven” — and nowhere is this more evident than along Wangfujing Snack Street, where, for years, in sometimes harsh conditions, cooks have developed and perfected their art.
The more adventurous diner can try scorpions, snakes, silkworms, beetles, centipedes, emu, starfish, eel, octopus, and grasshoppers. Though this isn't everyday food, the locals were chomping it down.
As you enter Wangfujing, located in the Dongcheng district, you’ll encounter a triumphant blend of creativity, flavor and economy. Cooks fry, chop and stir usually simple dishes, often with grains as the centerpiece.
These are meals that appeal to all the senses without forgetting their uniquely Chinese concept of yin and yang. It is this principle of balance and harmony — pairing bland items with stronger, crisper ones — that can makes Chinese cuisine both appealing and overwhelming.
It helps to speak the language: dishes begin at 5 yuan (about 35 pesos) if you have some level of competence in Mandarin; prices can rise to 20 yuan (about Php 140) if you communicate solely in English. One phrase to learn that might come in handy: “Nĭ chī fàn le ma?” — “Have you eaten yet?”
My visit to this peculiar place made me wonder: Is it really true that the Chinese will eat any part of just about anything that moves? How did they turn out this way? What might this reveal about human nature? Oh well, I guess.. its for them to know and for me to find out.