Are you ready for some freshly grilled scorpion on a skewer? (photo credit: Yann Cognieux)
Are you ready for some freshly grilled scorpion on a skewer? (photo credit: Yann Cognieux)

The place was jammed with locals and tourists from all over. The food stalls were steaming with fresh food. As I got closer to one of them, I noticed that the food was not your typical type. The 200-meter-long food street landmark has been around since 1984 and is a hot spot for daring foodies. I definitely got more than what I expected coming to the Honghuamen night food market and I realized that my tastebuds might never forget this culinary experience.

So there I was, standing in this small alley, an array of eerie food in front of me, and I had to pick one or two for dinner. It took me a while I can tell you. My options were many : ciccadas, sea stars and sea horses, locusts, silk worms, snake, lizard, centipedes, all on a stick. Well, I was hungry and I was here to experience some new flavours. My first choice went to snake on a skewer. Not too adventurous I know but it was a beginning. The sweet and sour sauce was tasty, the snake flesh consistency between chicken and calamari. It was not bad, quite flavorful actually. Now this is when it got interesting! One display got my attention. Scorpions on skewers! When I asked the man behind the counter if they were fresh, he pulled out a bucket from under the table, a big grin on his face. 100 of these little guys were crawling all over. No, that wouldn’t do, even if the vendor told me that frying the scorpions neutralizes their poison and their tail ironically is the most nutritious part.

So I continued my exploration of the market and its row of bizarre eats. The locust skewers didn’t look too bad. I could go with eating Jiminy Cricket. Well not really but this was my best choice. My mind was working 200% I can tell you, trying to find a good reason to swallow a deep fried grasshoper on a stick.

  • I read somewhere that edible insects are highly nutritious, loaded with protein and with high fiber content. Sure!
  • It is 20 times more efficient to raise insect protein than beef. Hmmm!
  • It takes less water to raise insects. Good for the planet, but for me?
  • Many cultures in the world find them to be a delicacy. Not sure I would!
  • It is THE food of the future. Present time!
  • Oh yes, I am French. I eat frog’s legs and snails so a little bug should not stop me.

I closed my eyes, opened my mouth, and took a good bite. It was crunchy and tasted a bit like fried chicken. The rest went down very quickly. There, I had enough weird food for tonight. Some candied fruits seemed so refreshing after this, on a skewer of course!

The Honghuamen night market has one of the world’s most bizarre food selection, I can tell you. It is trully a place you will never forget. As for me, I will always remember the night I ate a bug in Beijing.

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About Christine Cognieux

Christine is a life enthusiast, attracted to happiness, creativity and beauty in everything. It is not because she is French that she loves Fashion but she does. Photographing her food is becoming a habit of hers!

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24 Responses to "Food Postcard: The Day I Ate a Bug in Beijing"

  1. Anne  15/02/2016

    Christine, you are more adventurous than me … I went twice to Beijing at the Wangfujing Market jie but I really haven’t had the urge to eat still wriggling scorpion on a stick! A culinary experience out of the commun. Yet I remember attended a performance of a small theater in the open air in a dead end (perpendicular to the street Xila Hutong) and a small “gargotte” which offered delicious wonton soup! thank you again for this tasty share!

    Reply
    • Christine Cognieux  23/02/2016

      You are welcome Anne!

      Reply
  2. JJ Johnson  16/02/2016

    Lol lol, you are great. This post made me laugh, “good for the planet”, lol. I once ate a cricket lollipop, and rattlesnake, and I struggled with those, lol.

    Reply
    • Christine Cognieux  23/02/2016

      Thanks JJ Johnson Happy you enjoyed it!

      Reply
  3. MariaAbroad  16/02/2016

    Hehe, this is awesome. I tried the Scorpions at that market, but was too chicken to try a bug. To me, it tasted not bad at all, just crunchy and salty, similar to fried pork skins.

    Reply
    • Christine Cognieux  23/02/2016

      Thanks Maria. You are quite adventurous to have gone with the scorpions! I couldn’t do it!

      Reply
  4. Monika  16/02/2016

    Good experience!
    I’ve tried grasshoppers and different kinds of larva – worth trying but I’m not going to do it again if I don’t have to, no matter how nutricious they are!

    Reply
    • Christine Cognieux  23/02/2016

      Wow you are daring Monika! I couldn’t go with the larva!

      Reply
  5. Erin  19/02/2016

    Wow, I don’t know if I could do that but maybe someday I will try. So funny that they are actually good for you!

    Reply
    • Christine Cognieux  23/02/2016

      Thanks Erin. Yes, I guess it is just a personal perception.

      Reply
  6. Crazy Travelista  19/02/2016

    Wow, you’re brave. Not sure I could go through with this! But, when in Rome, right? hehe 🙂

    Reply
    • Christine Cognieux  23/02/2016

      Thanks Crazy Travelista. Never say never!

      Reply
  7. Paulina  19/02/2016

    I have also heard once, that the insects might solve the hunger problem around the world, I wonder if that’s true, but I believe it might. I tried some bugs in Thailand. Surprisingly it wasn’t gross for me, but I just didn’t like the taste 🙂 I admire you for the scorpions though, I chickened out in Beijing 🙂

    Reply
    • Christine Cognieux  23/02/2016

      thank you Paulina. I believe in the future of insects in the food industry. You are quite adventurous! I couldn’t go with the scorpion especially after seeing them live and kicking! So I ate the grasshopper instead.

      Reply
  8. Jesus  19/02/2016

    Interesting but I’d pass. 🙂

    Reply
  9. Wanderlustingk  19/02/2016

    I did a grasshopper in Cambodia. I enjoyed it way more than I expected. I love your points about food sustainability!

    Reply
    • Christine Cognieux  23/02/2016

      Thank you Wanderlustingk.

      Reply
  10. Roy Stevenson  20/02/2016

    No potential food source gets wasted in China! Good story.

    Reply
    • Christine Cognieux  23/02/2016

      Thank you Roy, you are so right.

      Reply
  11. shivansh  20/02/2016

    Oops! i am a vegetarain and I am headed to China in aoril. I am not sure how im gonna survive !

    Reply
    • Christine Cognieux  23/02/2016

      Don’t worry! You won’t find these in restaurant. China food scene has so much to offer for vegetarian. Check out our How to Eat article on Baozi. They are so delicious and come in so many varieties.

      Reply
  12. looking tasty…. had some in Cambodia!

    Reply
    • Christine Cognieux  23/02/2016

      thank you Patricia. What did you have in Cambodia?

      Reply
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