China 2009 - Flea Market & Scorpions

Beijing, China
Saturday, October 10th, 2009

Weekend Flea MarketAnother day for shopping but not inside. Saturday is the main day for the Beijing outdoor weekend market, Panjiayuan and often referred to as the dirt market; as it used to be held outdoors on the ground. Today, it is held on pavement and in some areas, it is roofed. This is another huge area, filled with hundreds of small vendors selling everything. Our mission today was to focus on the stone and marble statutory and wooden carvings.

Marble Du DogsAfter much haggling, each of us found items we liked. Being made of stone and marble, these items would not fit in our carry-on luggage, so we arranged with Lily’s Furniture to have Cherry join us. She arranged the logistics of having our items delivered to their warehouse and combined into our shipping container. Ellen and Gerald’s quest to find marble fu dogs (lions) was achieved! As a bonus, Ellen saw a group of three oil paintings that spoke directly to her—“buy me.”

Insects on a StickSaturday evening. A personal objective for me during our China visit was to sample some of the more exotic foods available in China. The guys in our group shared my enthusiasm, with the women preferring to watch and photograph for the most part. Judy and Marion on this evening said they were tired and wanted to rest but I have my suspicion they instead wanted a hamburger and fries instead of the local exotic favorites. So for the faint of stomach, caution is advised when reading the following.

Food on a StickAbout one block from our hotel is the Wangfujiing area of Beijing. It is a lively street food vendor’s market known for its fresh supply of land and sea creatures. Cooking Supper Most of the creatures available are skewered on a stick. When ordered, the creatures are deep fired in hot oil and lightly seasoned with chilies, sauces, and salt.

Silkworm Cocoons      Scropion for Dinner    Starfish Delight
With some hesitation, we pulled up our britches, gulped a few times, and entered the area. We began mildly with a selection of shrimp dumplings and fungus (mushrooms), which even Ellen and Trish sampled. However, the next selections were hard-core adventure. We sampled silkworm cocoons, crickets, scorpions, bee cocoons, squid, starfish, eel, and shark. To our surprise and relief, they were all quite tasty-mostly just an oily, crunchy, puffed taste. The group favorite was the deep-fried scorpions.

Starfish and SquidDeciding to retain some adventure for our next visit, we declined on the offers of snake on a stick, internal organ meats of various animals and sheep penis. After these appetizers, we were ready for our full-course meal and a drink. Finding a sit down restaurant nearby, we headed in and ordered our drinks and more food.Maybe Next Time

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