The Unusual Eats of of Beijing’s Wangfujing Street

by Cailin O'Neil on March 1, 2012


Asian food streets are quite possibly my favorite place to visit.  Often small, out of the way, and most popular after dark, these food streets have everything a budget minded traveler is looking for and more.  But every now and again you come across a place where you know you have no place going to, but an unexplainable calling draws you in.  Beijing’s Wangfujing Street was mine, and my unexplainable drawing had a name: scorpion.

Wangfujing Street is no ordinary food street.  This infamous side street in Beijing is famous for housing a collection of the weirdest, grossest foods you can imagine; and in good Chinese fashion, served fried on a stick.  Before nerves could get the best of anyone in our group, we went for the main attraction first and had no trouble generating a crowd to watch us consume it.



If having a mission to try scorpion isn’t bad enough, being faced with two options is most certainly worse.  Do you go for the small scorpion or the extra large scorpion that is likely to have more inner juices?  Conveniently the little scorpion were served four on a stick, and I just so happened to be there with a group of four.  A cop out, maybe, but a 20 yuan snack (~$3 US) split between four is an easy choice.

Being the crazy one, I tried first.




I didn’t die, it wasn’t half bad, and there is video evidence to support this:


Before I knew it, our group was ordering snake.  After having scorpion it sounded a lot tamer, and the 15 yuan price wasn’t half bad either (~$2.25 US).  Once again the portion was large enough that all four of us shared, and we were all in unanimous agreement that snake tastes exactly like chicken and was overly salted by the chef.  Boo!


The God-Only-Knows-What

My adventurous eating on Wangfujing Street came to an end after these two endeavors, as everyone in our group decided to fill up on more tasty treats such as Tanghulu (sugar covered fruit on a stick), spring rolls, gyoza, and other familiar items.

But there are so many other items on Wangfujing that are just begging for someone to come along and try them.  There are starfish, seahorses, cockroaches, millipedes, centipedes, lizards, things that look like rats, live hearts, and countless other organs that I did not even recognize.  To be left to someone else I suppose. Are you up for the challenge?


Check out Jeremy’s new book which was just released!  The Long-Term Traveler’s Guide, go check it out!

Jeremy is an adventurer and food addict who has traveled to 34 countries around the world doing it all and eating it all. He writes at,, and is the author of the guidebook The Long-Term Traveler’s Guide which launches in early 2012.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Abby March 1, 2012 at 7:53 pm

NEVER!!!!!!!!! Scorpions almost ran me right out of Costa Rica — they scare me!!!


Jeremy March 1, 2012 at 8:27 pm

@Abby: That sounds like a great way to get back at them. My next post will have even more.. uhm.. interesting foods from Vietnam.


Cailin O'Neil March 6, 2012 at 1:24 am

@Abby: I don’t think I’ve ever seen one out side of a pet store! They totally freak me out too!! What if the stinger gets you as you swallow? haha


Lillie Marshall March 1, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Ahh! We must have been there at almost the same time!

LOVE your photos. It’s hard to make a fried scorpion look luscious, but you seem to have done it :)


Cailin O'Neil March 6, 2012 at 1:25 am

@Lillie Marshall: haha Jeremy has made them look slightly tasty hasn’t he? However I feel bad for the cute little starfish :( haha


Laurence March 2, 2012 at 5:35 am

I don’t think I’ve ever tried scorpion, but I’m a sucker for anything cooked on a stick, so I’d be willing to give it a go :)


Cailin O'Neil March 6, 2012 at 1:25 am

@Laurence: “anything” cooked on a stick?? hmmm… What else have you tried?


Alexa Meisler March 2, 2012 at 6:02 pm

I may have tried a few of those things but I can never really taste the difference. They all taste like chicken to me. Lol. I like the photos you put up though, they don’t make the food look disgusting or anything so good job on that!


Cailin O'Neil March 6, 2012 at 1:26 am

@Alexa Meisler: tasted like Chicken eh? I guess thats not a bad thing because chicken is pretty freakin’ awesome. But you would think that some of the things like scorpion wouldn’t have much meat in them to give them any of a taste any way would you? haha


Don Faust March 3, 2012 at 5:43 am

You didn’t eat that cute little seahorse, did you? :)


Jeremy March 3, 2012 at 6:36 pm

@Don Faust: No, but I should have. Maybe next time. I saw a video of Samantha Brown (Travel Channel tv show host) eat Starfish though.. and it just looked awful. I’d rather do scorpion.


Cailin O'Neil March 6, 2012 at 1:28 am

@Jeremy: I think starfish would just be straight up awkward to eat! Especially with all of those little creepy crawler leg bits on the bottom eeewwww hahaha


Cailin O'Neil March 6, 2012 at 1:27 am

@Don Faust: My thoughts as well Don! haha


Cam March 3, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Hmmm… not sure about that one. I’d probably give it a try though… as long as I have a cold beer to chase it down with!


Cailin O'Neil March 6, 2012 at 1:28 am

@Cam: A cold beer makes everything better doesn’t it? :)


Joe Wong March 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm

ay ay ay!!no thank you with the scorpions! … thanks for sharing..


Cailin O'Neil March 12, 2012 at 11:44 pm

@Joe Wong: hahaha I don’t know if I would try them either. But maybe eating a scorpion would help you get over your fear of them? hahaha


Angie Away March 10, 2012 at 9:10 pm

I might try a scorpion… but you could not pay me enough to eat a cockroach. You couldn’t pay me to stand in the same room as a cockroach, dead or alive. HEEBIE JEEBIES.


Cailin O'Neil March 12, 2012 at 11:45 pm

@Angie Away: hahaha this makes no logic to me, a cockroach can’t do anything to you but a Scorpion could sting you!! I don’t know if I would try either honestly… haha


Jeremy March 27, 2012 at 10:46 pm

@Cailin O’Neil: They remove the stingers from the big ones, but the small ones still had them on. They’re so little they can’t do any harm :)


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