Expat Life in Photos: Wafunjing Snack Street

They say a picture’s worth 1.000 words, but here’s a few anyway.
Most of my research for China was done through the book River Town by Peter Hessler, a Peace Corps volunteer assigned to the provincial city of Fuling, along the banks of the Yangtze. While his sweeping description of the Dragon Gorge didn’t prepare me for the vehicle-clogged alleys of Beijing, the food he described seemed succulent, exotic enough to be touted by Anthony Bourdain and fun to try. I left the planning to my dad and instead prepared my stomach.
After a dizzying day of travel, my dad took me to snack street, a city block with food stands open throughout the night. This is Chinese fast food at its finest: raw pipping dumplings, ears of corn and sweet potatoes get dumped into steam baths, hot oil or handed over to you as soon as you order it. Cooks echoing used car salesmen call after you, offering bok choy and sheep penis. Steam rises from stalls, making it hard to see prices or even know what you’re ordering, which is almost half the fun.
Don and I tried grasshopper that night, a crunchy snack before bed. Throughout our 10 days in China, we’d eat duck heart and webbed feet, shrimp longer than my arm, pig snout and watch fishmongers toss parts into freezers while customers grabbed them, gloveless.
China’s opening up to new people, ideas and traditions. But food as culture has always been an ancient thing for the Chinese.


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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.

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