Thursday's Child: The Night Market in Beijing

Thursday, December 30, 2010


This month I’ve written about markets around the world.  You’ve seen how to buy saffron in Marrakech, peppers in Ljubljana, flowers in France and wooden toys in the German Christmas markets.  But my blog wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t tell you how to buy centipedes in Beijing.

Edible centipedes.

The night market in Beijing is like no other market I’ve visited.  It opens late in the afternoon and runs through the evening, selling delicacies to locals and tourists.  Wares range from the mundane (candy, tofu, meat) to the unusual (starfish, anyone?).


I think I’ve discovered the outer limits of my family’s taste habits.  None of us sampled the snake, bought the beetles or scarfed down the silkworm.  My youngest daughter, the one who averts her head when she walks by a butcher shop, had to be guided through most of the market with her eyes closed.  I’m not sure if that helped, though, as the pungent aroma was almost as overwhelming as the sights of the market.

Don’t get me wrong – I love fully experiencing the places we visit.  Even if (especially if!) we’d never see anything like it at home.  But if you are what you eat, it’s a good thing we laid off those centipedes.


21 comments:

katerina said...

Well, I like expanding my horizons too but up to a point! There are some things I would never eat. Snake is one of these things. Nevertheless, these trips are great experiences.

Jess said...

This reminds me of an episode of Andrew Zimmern's television show Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel. Love reading about your adventures :)

Kayte said...

Mark and Matt said some of their best education came from the markets in China! lol They were totally amazed at the things you could find and the things people would actually eat. It opened up the world for them. Thanks for sharing, this was fun...great photos!

Reeni said...

I think I'd be much like your daughter! I think it's wonderful they are being exposed to so much culture at such a young age. It's amazing what some people consider food and how different it is from what we eat!

comfortablydomestic.com said...

Oh. My. I don't eat bugs of any kind. Especially huge ones marketed as "edible." Your poor daughter! ;)

Rowena... said...

I'd probably be mesmerized by all of the sights but count me as one of those that would not have the slightest inclination of purchasing any for a quick bite. Scorpion on a stick! Yowwww!

Joanne said...

The thought of eating centipedes gives me the shivers. And I'm a pretty adventurous eater. But that's a little much. Thanks for sharing this nonetheless!

Monet said...

This was so fascinating! I love trying new things...but I don't think I could do any of those bugs. I was pressured to eat beetle while in Africa, and I said "No!" Thank you for sharing this with me. I hope you and your family have a Happy New Year. Thank you for your kindness on my own blog!

Claudia said...

I figure I've had enough bug-protein just bicycling! Even Pip the cat doesn't eat the whole centipede. Just the body. He discards the legs and leaves them. And on that tasty note - Happy New Year, Beth - may 2011 bring you and yours all good things.

tenaciouslyyours.com said...

I cracked up as I imagined your poor daughter doing some sort of bizarre trust-walk through the market :) We have all been there.

Faith said...

Well well.. incects for food.. I don't know about.. I don't think I will try that. Thanks for sharing Beth.. I learn something from your posts everytime I read them.

Happy New year.

Julie said...

That wouldbe what I call adventurous eating, way too out there for me. Your travels are amazing. Thanks for sharing them with us!!!

Happy New Year!!!

Amie Kaufman said...

I loved this place! My photos didn't come out nearly as well as yours, though! The only thing I was game to eat was the snacks shown in your bottom photo, which my Chinese friends assured me were fruit (possibly crab apples?) in a kind of red toffee, threaded on sticks. I grabbed one of those early and waved it around every time anybody suggested I try a centipede... or a starfish... or... well, anything, really. Amazing to look at, though!

Thanks for your fantastic posts this year--can't wait to see more in 2011!

Angie's Recipes said...

That's a pretty adventurous food trip. :-)) Have you tried those Chinese haw candies/sweets? I always bought lots of them whenever I visited BJ.
Happy 2011!
Angie

Sue said...

This post made me laugh, especially the part about guiding your daughter around with her eyes closed! I read it to my husband! What an adventure! My son lived a couple of years in the Philippines and ate some strange things!

Angela Felsted said...

Great pictures. I would have laid off the centipedes too.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Hi, Beth! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm sorry you missed this contest, but I'll be doing another one - although, on a smaller scale - in July or August, so I hope you can swing back around.

Um ... wow. Those buggy thingies look pretty ... not delicious. :)

MT said...

It's always a pleasure to see a new face on my blog. Thank you for coming by.

I don't mind looking at the different things other people eat, but I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to actually trying them.

Happy New Year!

ezsrecipes.com said...

Ew, ew, ew! This gives me the willies! I just can't imagine! But, at the same time, I see how this would be a once in a life time experience (to tour the market, not eat the centipedes)! Happy New Year!

jillbert said...

Oh my! I'd love to see the market, but I wouldn't be tempted to try the centipedes!

Carolyn said...

A big YIKES on those centipedes. I am adventurous but I wouldn't be able to do it! Yuck. I got quite a giggle out of the idea of your daughter having to keep her eyes closed through the market.

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