7 Seriously Strange Street Foods In China

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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Written by

Dariece Swift

Dariece is a co-founder of Goats On The Road, and an expert in saving money, finance management, building an online business and of course... travel. She loves meeting new people, trying new cuisines, and learning about the unique cultures of our world. She has over 10 years of experience helping others to realize their travel dreams and has worked in numerous jobs all over the world to help pay for travel. Her advice about long-term travel, remote work, and location independence has been featured on the Lonely Planet, CNN Money, Business Insider and Forbes. Learn more about Dariece Swift on the Goats On The Road About Us Page.

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