The World On A Plate


Eating Scorpions in Beijing


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I should first mention, that eating scorpions wasn’t the main reason for my coming to Beijing. Personally, I’m all about the cool little noodle stands and jasmine tea. But the city being as it is, the best food stalls are necessarily interspersed with those selling all that crawls, wriggles and slithers, skewered on little satay sticks.

Scorpion is one of the most expensive – the complete opposite to my friend Dickie’s observation that ASDA’s party food prices must mean the stick costs more than the meat. And very tasty – honest. Not just ‘it’s not completely rancid so in order to sound cultured I’ll say it’s delicious’ tasty, but really nice. Like king prawn. If they weren’t so expensive I’d have eaten quite a few.

The method of retail is to point at your insect of choice, which is then squeaked out of its polystyrene housing and plunged unceremoniously into a vat of boiling oil. If you’re not quick they’re then also doused in whatever ancient chilli seasoning the vendor happens to keep in a tub nearby before being handed over.

It should be noted that there are many other deep-fried insects on sale and scorpion is more or less the only palatable one. Don’t make my mistake of having to abandon stick after stick of oily insect as the vendor looks on with sad eyes.

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You can find Scorpions in Donghuamen Night Market, Wangfujing Road (Behind the Chinese Cinema) Beijing

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