The Dongcheng District of Beijing is well known for its historical sites such as Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City. By day, these sites, seemingly frozen in time, attract tourists and sightseers from across the world. But as night falls, the streets around Dongcheng spring to life as vibrant street markets set up shop. The largest of these markets is the Donghuamen Night Market, where red and white stalls stretch down the darkened streets, illuminating the night with an inviting warm glow. As you approach the market you are greeted by the cacophony of droves of competing merchants, each loudly promoting the delicacies on sale at their individual booths.
From the backs of the stalls, woks, griddles, and grills sizzle and flare as the stands’ purveyors fry up your meal to order. As you stroll through the market, you can sample a number of culinary oddities. Scorpions and beetles, starfish and sea urchins, cow’s stomach and sheep’s liver, these are just some of the bizarre bites available at the Donghuamen Night Market. But beyond these exotic dishes, there are more traditional – and more accessible – choices available as well. Roast pork pancakes or steamed buns filled with lamb offer more familiar meats while still fulfilling a desire for classic Chinese street fare. You will leave the market with a full belly, but a trip to Donghuamen isn’t just about the food.
To walk the streets of the market is to be pulled into the bustle of Chinese life. A trip to the market isn’t just a meal; it’s an experience – a flea market, a history lesson, and a culinary adventure all rolled into a simple walk down the street. Be it for a simple snack, or for an entire meal, the Donghuamen Night Market offers an authentic taste of Chinese culture.