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Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
June 16, 2010
From journal January in Beijing
by Paul Bacon
Rotherham, United Kingdom
May 13, 2006
The night market is a collection around 30 or 40 stalls situated on a side-road close to Wangfujing, Beijing's main shopping area. They serve all manner of takeaway foodstuffs, including such regular fare as noodles, soups, or dumplings. However, the majority of them specialise in food on a stick. Whereas in the west this is generally limited to ice-cream or the occasional corn-dog, in China almost the entire food chain is available impaled on various sized wooden skewers.
There are certainly plenty of sensible eating options at Donghu; many of the dumplings are delicious and all the stalls seem to stock Uighur-style kebabs. In my view though, it is only when caution is thrown to the wind that you can really begin to appreciate the place.
I began my journey along the stalls with a snake wound around a wooden stick, which in all honesty I found somewhat disappointing. Donghua, though, is a process of trial and error. The snake wasn't too good, and neither were the snails; the grasshoppers were, quite frankly, downright disgusting. The frogs legs, even though they seemed more French than Chinese, were a mixed bag in themselves. Whilst they did taste pretty good, they contained so many bones that eating them from a stick proved to be nigh-on impossible.
Despite the early setbacks, there were plenty of stick-based curiosities that really did hit the mark. Regardless of their lacking any significant amount of meat, the scorpions I crunched my way through were distinctly tasty. The surprise packager was without a doubt though, the sea horses. Seasoned by herbs that bordered on offering a sweetish tang, they proved to be a real treat.
As far as the testicles were concerned, I have to say I much preferred the lamb's variety over the bull's. This wasn't really a reflection on their respective flavors, rather the lamb's were just much smaller and went down far easier. In comparison, the bulls were just that little bit too large and required slightly more chewing that could be deemed pleasant.
From journal Living life to Mao