Beijing has quite an array of amazing and diverse foods to try, and some of the best you’ll eat is found right on the streets. Two popular street food areas in Beijing are Nanluoguxiang and Wangfujing Street, where you’ll find many shops and vendors offering all kinds of delicious Chinese snacks.
The famous Wangfujing Street is especially a must-see when visiting Beijing. This little alley is packed full of restaurants and snack stands selling dumplings, steamed buns, fried squid, and lamb chuan’r, as well as some interesting food varieties like smelly and scorpion (yes, that’s right!).
I recently did an Instagram Takeover for UnTour Food Tours (a food tour company in China) and shared some of my favorite Chinese street foods on their page. Check it out!
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This week we're featuring some of Beijing's best street food and snacks with an IG-takeover from @rachelmeetschina. Rachel says: After a busy day exploring, enjoy a sweet street treat: tanghulu (糖葫芦). This traditional snack is usually found in northern China and consists of fruit covered in a sweet syrup – most commonly it will be a special Chinese hawthorne fruit (山楂), but sometimes you'll see other fruit like strawberries and oranges.
I’ve been to Wangfujing Street countless times and enjoy going back when I want to people watch and get some good street food. It can get very crowded during evenings and weekends, but if you’re willing to brave the hoards of people you’ll be rewarded with some tasty and cheap foods.
Here are a few street foods in Beijing you must try!
1. Steamed buns (包子 bāozi)/ Bean Curds (豆腐脑 dòufunǎo)
Two popular breakfast foods in China, but can be eaten at any time.
2. Fried Dumplings (饺子 jiǎozi)
These tiny little dumplings are fantastic with spicy chili oil added on top.
3. Chicken Wing with Rice (Jīchì Bāofàn 鸡翅包饭)
Chicken wings stuffed with rice are one of my favorites! Also pictured here are Chinese sausages and corn.
4. Tanghulu (糖葫芦)
Tanghulu is a popular treat that consists of hawthornes (or sometimes other fruit like strawberries or oranges) covered in a sweet syrup.
For the adventurous type, Beijing offers some unique food choices – like scorpion! You can buy a stick for 10 RMB, which they’ll fry and add spicy seasoning to. Honestly they’re not that bad – very crunchy.
6. Smelly Tofu (臭豆腐 chòudòufu)
Another classic Chinese street snack, smelly tofu comes from the Hunan province (where I used to live!) and you can literally smell it from down the street. It tastes better than it smells, though, and is really popular for people to try.
7. Chinese BBQ (燒烤, shāo kǎo)
A popular late night snack that’s amazing after a night out – but really anytime is good for Chinese BBQ. Choose whatever meat and veggies you want and they’ll grill and season them for you!
8. Soup Dumplings (Xiaolongbao 小笼包)
Soup dumplings are a dumpling variation filled with a tasty broth. There is also a giant version of this which I found at Nanjuoguxiang that you need a straw to sip out the soup first.
9. Lamb Skewers (串 chuàn’r)
These grilled lamb skewers are so good and easy to find around China.
10. Squid balls, crab, noodles, and more!
There are so many delicious foods to try in Beijing, and you’ll discover some of the best things just by wandering around the streets.
Try All The Chinese Food!
Beyond street food, China has some other delicious foods you have to experience while you’re here. A few of my favorites include Hot Pot, Hunan Food, hand-pulled noodles, and malatang. You can see some of them in this video I made about food in China:
What’s your favorite Chinese Street food? Read more about some of my favorite Chinese food here: What Do You Eat in China?