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The modern metropolis of Beijing has hundreds of different types of snacks after thousands of years’ of development and the movement of a wide range of people. Beijing snacks combine numerous flavors and styles, such as Hui, Mongolian and Manchurian flavors, and imperial styles of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1636-1911) dynasties.
Food streets or snack streets are always popular destinations for locals and tourists, especially at night. There are many such streets in Beijing, some have been around for a long time, while some are newly thriving. The following food/snack streets, or street snack shops, are among the famous in Beijing.
Wangfujing Snack Street is conveniently located just beside Wangfujing Street, the busiest shopping street in Beijing. It is a very popular tourist destination, and is especially busy at night. Besides street foods, there are also souvenirs and handicrafts for sale here, so you can kill two birds with one stone.
The food street has a large selection of somewhat exotic finds, such as deep fried insects, scorpions and animal parts. While people in Beijing do not regularly eat deep fried insects, they can make for good photos to send home.
Common traditional snacks such as meat kebabs, dumplings and tanghulu (candied fruits popular in Beijing's winter) can also be found here. We've also put together snack menu help in case you need help figuring out how to ask for what you want.
Prices range from RMB 10 per snack to RMB 30-40 for the bigger portions.
Chinese Name: 王府井小吃街
Address: Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng District (东城区王府井)
Transport: Public bus 20, 37, 41, 59, 103, 120, 420, 802 (get off at Wangfujing). Or take subway line 1 and get off at Wangfujing Station.
Guijie (Ghost Street) is the earliest popular snack street in Beijing. The 1.5-kilometer-long Guijie is full of snack shops and restaurants, which serve snacks with different flavors at a cheap price. It is well-known for serving spicy food hailing mostly from Sichuan province.
One food item that is undoubtedly high up on Beijing's favorites are hot and spicy crawfish. Guijie operates around the clock, and it's bustling every day between six in the evening until the early hours of the morning. This is also one of the best places to come for a meal very late at night as many of the restaurants continue to serve until approximately 4am.
Prices of the restaurants here start at approximately RMB 50-60 per person, and can go up to RMB 300 depending on whether you are looking for something fancy.
Chinese name: 簋街
Location: Dongzhimennei Avenue, Dongcheng District
Transportation: Public bus 106, 124, 807 (get off at Beixinqiao); subway line 5 (get off at Beixinqiao); subway line 2 (get off at Dongzhimen).
Niujie (Ox Street) is famous for its large muslim community and Niujie Mosque, which is the largest and oldest mosque in Beijing. Twenty-three ethnic groups live in the area, with Hui people making up the majority.
This area is the place to go for food items and snacks popular with the muslim Hui community, mostly made of beef and mutton, various pastries, and other traditional Beijing snacks.
Street snacks around here are relatively inexpensive, starting at a few RMB for pastries.
Chinese name: 牛街 Niujie /nyoh jyeah/ 'Ox Street'
Location: Guanganmen, Xuanwu District
Transport: Public bus 5, 6, 10, 38, 48, 109, 626 and 717 (get off at Niujie)
It is one of the more upscale food streets in Beijing, with nearly 50% of consumers made up of nearby business people. Dozens of upscale restaurants gather on this 3-kilometer-long street including Hunan cuisine, Sichuan cuisine, Jiangsu cuisine and many other famous Chinese regional cuisines. Several Cantonese restaurants featuring seafood here rank amongst the best in Beijing.
Restaurants in this area start around RMB 100 per person and can go up really high for the fancier Cantonese seafood restaurants.
Chinese Name: 阜成路
Location: It is located between Hangtian Bridge (航天桥) and Dinghui Bridge (定慧桥) in Haidian District
Nearby Attraction: China Central Television Tower
As one of the most popular hutongs to visit around Beijing, you'll be right in thinking that there should be lots of snacks to try in Nanluoguxiang, because walking around makes people hungry!
While the snack shops there aren't necessarily the oldest and most traditional, you'll find more modern renditions of Beijing snacks here instead. Dumplings with crazy and fun fillings, bubble teas (which they did not have in the olden days, but which are delicious and great after a day of exploring), and lots of barbecue snacks on sticks, easy for walking.
Snacks here start off at approximately RMB 5-10 for barbecued snacks, and you will pay around RMB 15 for bubble teas.
Chinese name: 好运街
Location: Near Liangmaqiao Road on the East Third Ring
Nearby attraction: Chaoyang Park
If you have special food requirements, or are especially interested in trying any of the street foods you read about above, please let us know when you are booking your China Highlights tour. We can make the reservation for you and tailor your itinerary to fit your needs.
We also have some ready-made food tours to make things easy if you can't choose!