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The most famous shopping street-Wangfujing is named after a well. This well is located in a street near Wangfujing Street-Wangfujing Snack Street.
Wangfujing the Well-Named
The origin of the name Wanfujing comes from the 4-meter deep well which you can see near the entrance of Wangfujing Snack Street. It was dug during the Ming Dynasty, and called Wangfujing. The word ¡®jing¡¯ means ¡®well¡¯ in Chinese.
Wangfujing Snack Street
Wangfujing Street is famous not only for shopping, but also for its snacks.
The section where snack food is served is named Wangfujing Snack Street, and it is located in the north of Wangfujing Street. You enter this side street on the west side of Wangfujing.
Approaching the Snack Street
The entrance of Wangfujing Snack Street is a big doorway designed in the traditional Chinese style with dragons. The top of the gate bears 6 golden Chinese characters which tell the name of the street.
Most vendors on Wangfujing Snack Street can speak a little English, as there are so many foreigners visiting.
The snacks are served as take-away only. You can either eat right then and there, or ask for a bag and take the food with you.
There are different kinds of traditional snacks. Some I have tasted; some are so weird I never heard of them before this trip to the Street.
One of the vendors sells tanghulu, which is a sweet taste snack. The chef puts some fruit on a skewer, and covers the fruit with melt sugar. When the sugar crystallizes, it turns transparent. It makes the tanghulu look nice.
The traditional tanghulu is made of hawthorn. Nowadays, people also use grapes, plums, strawberries, and blackberries to make it.
The vendor told me lots of foreigners try tanghulu. Their favorite kind is made with strawberries.
The tanghulu is priced RMB 3-5, depending on which fruit it is made of.
Personally, I love smelly toufu. Although it smells, it tastes really nice. I like the texture of fried toufu, and the special spicy source they put onto it.
For RMB 3, you can get a small plastic bowl filled with 6-8 pieces of smelly toufu. One piece is a 2-inch long square. The vendor will also give you a toothpick, so that you can stick the toothpick into one of the pieces, and put it into your mouth.
There are all kinds of skewers: beef, lamb, chicken, chicken heart, pork, etc. It costs RMB 3 for a small skewer, and RMB 5 for a big one.
I even saw skewers of scorpions today. There are 4 scorpions on one skewer, sold for RMB 15. The scorpions are alive before they are cooked. The chef scared me with the living scorpions when we were talking and kidding. He tried to persuade me to eat one but failed miserably.
Another weird animal on skewer is cicada (RMB 6). I still haven¡¯t dared to try it out.
Vendors selling coconuts are really friendly. After I bought a coconut, they taught me how to open it and drink it, and how to eat the flesh inside as well. Coconuts cost RMB 10 each. They are much cheaper than those sold in supermarkets.
Besides these snacks, you can also find sweet corn (RMB 4), squid (RMB 5), Hongkong-styled beef ball (RMB 5) and Turkey-styled kebab (RMB 5) on this street.
After this snack feat, I walked towards the end of the street, and found a peddler selling sunglasses. The glasses are badly made, but really cheap. Don¡¯t look for a price tag, there are none. I picked one, and asked for the price. The peddler started at RMB 40, but after bargaining came down to RMB 25. If you care to buy a pair of cheap sunglasses, make an effort at bargaining.
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