Food – Deep-fried scorpions

Location – Wangfujing night market, Beijing

I’ve just spent six months in Beijing and trying the weird food at the night market seems to be the done thing, for tourists at least. Locals and resident foreigners avoid the place, as it’s fair to say that it’s an inauthentic, overexpensive tourist trap. Still, as a fan of unusual food you can’t help but like the place. Whatever government official set the place up knew what he was doing. About thirty identical stalls stretch down one side of the road toward the forbidden city, each with it’s own selection of snacks. Many are variations on the fried noodles and roujiamo themes, but a fair few also have the kind of thing I’m more interested in.
One stall in particular had a nice selection of not-usually-considered-edible wildlife on skewers, some of it still alive.

There were a few that didn’t seem particularly special, and a few things I’d tried before, but the scorpions looked interesting.

This friendly chap made a good performnce out of skewering and deep-frying poisonous insects. I wonder how you get a job like that.Do you have to have some kind of certificate? Is there a training course?

After the frying it looked much the same – that is, not something you’d be particularly keen on puttng in your mouth. Scorpions are poisonous aren’t they? And I’m afraid of them aren’t I?
Ah well, I’ve put worse in there.

First impressions were not bad at all. A bit like fried chicken, with a thin, insect-y skin. Might as well finish it off.

It didn’t even have a bad aftertaste. The tail didn’t look like it was supposed to be eaten, so I left that out.
All-in-all fried scorpion is just a fairly pleasant oily street snack, if a bit of a expensive one. I’m assured that Chinese people don’t really eat scorpions, they’re just for tourists, but I don’t see why not. If you can stomach the silkworms then why not these?

Finally today we have a first for foodtube, a youtube video.

As you can see, nothing wrong with eating scorpions.
I’m off to Vietnam this month, so expect a few more unusual eats to come.

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