I'm Barry Petersen and this Letter From Asia comes from Beijing. Well, from the district called Wang Fu Jing, where every night they set up a nighttime food market. Our culinary guide tonight is Jen Lin Liu who is a food writer for Beijing's Time Out magazine.
What delights do they have? We've got some scorpions, crickets, giant jumbo scorpions, silk worms…wait. Go back a second. Scorpions? And, they're alive. A quick fry to boil off the poison, a touch of salt, all it takes now is courage.
After tasting the scorpions, it's really not bad. I asked Jen if she thought anyone would believe us. "It's kind of like popcorn," she said. However, when offered a second one, she declined.
There's plenty of more normal food for the tourists or the Chinese couples on dates. Like squid, octopus, soft shelled crabs. There's pig and sheep and cow kidneys, stomach, even intestines. And pot-sticker dumplings - it doesn't get fresher than this.
Jen found a taste of old Beijing…fried pumpkin flour slathered with a garlic sauce. You must leave room for dessert…like candied apples or jell-o. There are also treats called donkeys rolling in dirt and, no, they have no donkey in them.
It's kind of fun, if you have a stomach for the exotic. Call it a buffet for the brave.
By the way, anybody want seconds on those scorpions?
by Barry Petersen