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.