Posted 29 Apr, 2013 | 23 Comments
Posted in: China, Cuisine, Travel Blogs

We love eating at street-side vendors and have our favourite ones here in Yangzhou. However, those foods consist of delicious cold noodle dishes, soups, wraps and fruits — not insects!

China is definitely one of the best countries for incredible cuisine in the world, but the weird food on this list may be a bit too shocking for most western palates.

During our travels around Hangzhou and Beijing we saw these animals and insects cooked up for sale at the markets, and being enjoyed by the locals.

Here’s a list of some of the less appetizing, strange street foods seen in China:

Note: to us westerners these foods may seem “weird”, but they are a normal part of the diet in China. Many places in the world eat insects, creepy crawlies, and other food that we would consider strange. Don’t knock it before you try it! 

1. Deep-Fried Massive Spiders

While we were travelling around Hangzhou, we spotted these massive spiders for sale at a market. They were so huge that I was even scared to take a photo of them!

China is one of the cheapest countries to travel and the cheapest to live in as well, but if you’re eating insects you can save even more money.

street foods in china
Eeek! Massive, black, gross spiders at the street-side market in Hangzhou

2. Battered and Deep Fried Crab

Sure, crab meat is delicious but when it’s fried whole, eating the shell (and everything else) is a must and you’ll spend the rest of the day picking bits of it out of your teeth.

eating in china
Deep fried, whole crabs for sale on the street…good luck eating the shell!

3. Duck Heads

We saw these beaks for sale and wondered…wow much meat could possibly be found on the beaks and heads of these cute little birds?

food in china
I don’t see a lot of meat on these duck heads

4. Chicks

Are there not enough fully grown chickens in the world that people have to resort to eating the chicks? But, the same goes for eating veal, lamb, and suckling pig.

strange food in china
Can you see the chick here? Look for the tiny wings, small little neck and body!

5. Flying Lizards

Fried and stuck on a stick, these reptiles are apparently delicious.

6. Sea Horse

Another one that was hard to see. These teeny-tiny animals of the ocean are sought after by scuba-divers and are considered endangered. It’s thought that they may become extinct in 3 decades

strange food in china
Flying lizard anyone? How about the cute and seriously small seahorse?

7. Scorpions

These big, black, creepy crawlies have been spotted in both Beijing and Hangzhou, but we’ve yet to try them here. We did try a scorpion when we were in Thailand though. But here in China, they’re just too big!

street food in china
These scorpions are just too big for me to even consider trying!

We’ve tried small scorpions and maggots in Thailand when we were slightly intoxicated but we just don’t have the desire to try any of the “food” listed above! Who knows though, maybe it’s delicious and we’re the ones missing out…I guess we’ll never know.

What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever tried while travelling?! Tell us about it below.




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Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift are the owners and founders of Goats On The Road. Together they have been travelling and working abroad since 2008 and have more than 20 years of combined experience in online business, finance, travel and entrepreneurship. Their expert advice has been featured on the Lonely Planet, CNN Money, Business Insider,  WiseBread and Forbes and they also spoke at the World Tourism Forum in Istanbul about the business of travel blogging.

Learn more about Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift on their respective author archives on this site and on the Goats On The Road About Us Page.

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23 thoughts on “7 Seriously Strange Street Foods In China

  1. I think I’ll just stick to chicken skewers, crepes and whatnot haha! Those spiders are DISGUSTING!!

  2. Agreed! They were massive, I didn’t even want to take a photo of them 🙂

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. I saw these scorpians for sale in Bangkok but there was a sign in english that stated the price in Bhat to take a photo..
    Years ago in Laos in Muang Sing.. I saw rats and turtles and toad for sale..barbequed..

  4. I think that’s ridiculous that locals will sometimes make you pay for a photo of food! Such a scam.
    mmm BBQ’d rat, turtles and toad..haha, no thanks! There are definitely some interesting foods in Asia.

    Cheers for the comment Carl.

  5. Guys, shame on me, but I tried them all and I pretty like it. I love experiencing with my food and China gives me this opportunity. I also had some pig’s ears and nose LOL:). Sounds disgusting, but it was edible :).

  6. Good for you Agness! That’s awesome that you’re so brave and will try all of these things. We’ve eaten tongue, stomach, blood and intestines and they are actually all pretty good…but I can’t get my head around eating massive spiders, reptiles and baby chickens! haha.

  7. Ok, those are definitely strange, I don’t know if I could eat any of them. I’m already afraid of plenty of other things. I was just writing about some of my fears while traveling, they’re a little more odd ball, and out there, but I think making it funny helps 🙂 Check it out and let me know what you think.

  8. I think this is fucking disgusting. If it breathes, they eat it. How is this ok?? Why must everything be eaten. It’s not enough that pigs and cows and chickens get massacred daily, it now has to be every living soul?
    I’d call them pigs, but pigs are better.

  9. Thanks god. I am vegetarian. Sorry for earlier post. Damn this predictive texts.

  10. these are only for forgners they don’t eat them and you only find these stuff in wangfujin street and it’s a tourist attraction street
    you find the only ones eating this food are forgners , chinese they don’t
    if you wanna see really creepy food go to korea the most disgusting food i’ve ever seen , they literaly eat everything , even your cute littel puppy they will make a soup of it

  11. trust me I live there I have never see this food sold outside of wangfujin and wangfujin is a tourist attraction that’s why you see this food if you want to see real creepy food you should visit south korea

  12. trust me i live there and I never saw those things sold ouside or restaurents , chinese people don’t eat this things, those pictures are taking in wangfujin and wangfujin is a tourist attraction street that’s why you find this things for sell ,
    wanna see creepy food go to south korea , they eat everything

  13. Seems kind of like Orientalism. So, veal and lamb is okay for Western cultures, but chicks are off the table?

  14. I’m actually living in France, country of the gourmet food, where I have tried froglegs (that is a chicken-like meat in texture and taste), snails and raw oysters. The most common version of snails is OK, a little rubbery texture drenched in butter and garlic and grilled in the oven. The second version is trickier, where the snails are grilled alive over an open fire. No comment about the taste that for me was masked by the vision of the sputtering gastropods. Anyone who has had a bad case of cold, can imagine gobbing oysters…

  15. Don’t be scared, ordinary Chinese people will not eat them….unless these have special likes. As a Chinese person, I even never see some these. It’s just different eating habit, like French people eat snails.

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