7 popular Beijing street snacks + 1 daring one

Kiwi, pineapple, melon and hawthorn berries on sticks complete covered in sugar.
Fruit kebabs coated in melted sugar. (Omar Torres/Getty Images)

A lot of cities have food markets where you can buy quick snacks or meals. In Beijing, they have whole streets for that, called food or snack streets. If you've ever wanted to try skewered scorpion, one of these streets will have it!

Travellers come from all over the world to try out these unique and delicious street foods. Have you ever eaten any of these? Would you give these a try?

Candied fruit kebabs (Tanghulu)

two young girls looking at fruit kebabs on the back of a street vendor bicycle

Young women shop for candied fruit kebabs from a vendor in Beijing. (Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images)

You'll see these candied fruit kebabs a lot in the winter. They're usually made from Chinese hawthorn, which is the fruit of a tree. They are also made with mandarins, oranges, strawberries, pineapples and other fruit. The whole stick is coated in hardened sugar syrup and it tastes sweet and sour. 

Breakfast pancake (Jianbing)

A vendor makes a traditional breakfast pancake in Beijing. (Nicolas Asfouri/Getty Images)

You can find these warm pancake wraps being eaten for breakfast on cold winter days. They're filled with all sorts of delicious ingredients like ham, scallions, coriander, mustard pickles, fried crackers and chilli sauce. It's easy to see why these yummy little crepe burritos are so popular. And you get to see them made right in front of you!

Stinky tofu (Chou dou fu)

A person eating stinky tofu out of a styrofoam container using chopsticks

(123RF Stock Photos/strippedpixel)

Some say you can smell this popular street snack from far away. It's a fermented tofu that is fried and then covered in sauce. What does "fermented" mean? Other fermented foods are things like sauerkraut, kimchi and yogurt. Have some breath mints handy!

Fried dough sticks (Youtiao)

Fried dough is taken out of a deep fryer and put into a metal basket for selling.

(123RF Stock Photos/anutr)

They're just like the doughnuts you're used to. Except they're twisted and they're only served with sugar (on request), not covered in chocolate or sprinkles or maple glaze. They're usually eaten with a little salt and a cup of hot soy milk. You'll even find them at McDonald's!

Lamb kebabs (Chuan'r)

A vendor standing in front of a barbecue full of meat kebabs takes money from a customer.

(Mark Ralston/Getty Images)

Just like fruit kebabs, you'll see a lot of meat kebabs in Beijing street food. Lamb is the most popular choice for these kebabs, but you can also find chicken, pork, beef and seafood. These aren't just plain fried meats, they get spiced up with cumin seed, pepper flakes, salt and sesame. Yum!

Chinese hamburgers (Rou jia mo)

A plate with delicious Chinese hamburgers full of spicy shredded meat.

(123RF Stock Photos/chuyu)

They're very much like a cross between a hamburger and a sloppy joe sandwich. The meat inside — usually pork — is shredded and seasoned with spices. The soft and chewy buns are made from a fermented dough. They're originally from the Shaanxi province, but now they're popular all over China.

Beijing yogurt (Suannai)

Bottles of Beijing yogurt piled high for sale.

Old-style yogurt made from heating milk, sugar and a mix of nuts and raisins. (123RF Stock Photos/stargazer84)

This old-style yogurt is a really popular street snack. And it's recyclable too! The yogurt is sold in ceramic jars with white lids and blue writing that can be returned to the vendor for reuse. So most people drink the yogurt on the spot. Of course you can keep the cute jar, for an extra small fee.

These street snacks all sound pretty delicious. Are you ready for something a bit more adventurous? Think you want to try a snack with a bit more crunch to it? 

Now for a challenge... deep-fried insects!

A vendor sells deep fried grasshoppers and scorpion kebabs.

Grasshoppers and scorpions on a stick at a street vendor in Beijing. (Deurbon Chow/Reuters)

You'll see crunchy insects on a stick in some of the night markets in Beijing. If you're not into beetles, that's OK. You can also find scorpions, silkworms, grasshoppers and other insects. They're completely harmless to eat. You just have to find your favourite type and love a lot of crunch!

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