Watching a new cooking show on Travel Channel, ‘The Fearless Chef’ where Kenyan-born chef Kiran Jethwa eats a scorpion brought back a lot of memories of Beijing China and made me remember, why you shouldn’t eat a scorpion (or other street-meat) while traveling in Beijing China.
Before I tell you this story I want to state that I have no problem with eating bugs- I’ve eaten a few lime and salt-covered crickets in Mexico and a bug or two in Bangkok.
I love China and adore Beijing. There is a very creative, fresh vibe happening in Beijing. After decades of repression and control (recommended reading on China’s history below) the city is producing some incredibly creative and interesting emerging artists. Beijing locals are friendly with a positive outlook on life, and the food is interesting to say the least! In my Beijing City Guide post I give my recommendations on seeing the creative/artistic side to Beijing.
*Recommended reading for China travel: I’m currently reading Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China from Amazon.
After a day of taking in all the regular Beijing sites, The Great Wall and Forbidden city, we decided to hit the famous Dong Hua Men Night Market. The surrounding areas is well-worn with backpackers and travelers, and Dong Hua Men Night Market is a meeting hub for foreigners wanting to try something unusual and capture the moment for social media.
Before I continue this post I have something to confess. I’m a fake. The pic attached to this and my Beijing post is ‘posed’ at the time of traveling in Beijing and China I was a vegetarian (not for taste or religious reasons more for emotional reasons). I was traveling with a journalist friend of mine who bravely tried the scorpion and I posed with the stick. At the time, I felt I needed that typical tourist in China shot for my social media.
As a lover of the ocean and the planet, the first thing that really offended me was the baby sharks with a skewer through them – clearly this is wrong and if you want to know why this is wrong google it and learn ‘why the planet needs apex predators’.
As we walked further through the market there were many other unusual and gimmicky mystery meats on show for tourists. A vendor holding dozens of skewer sticks with tiny bits of dark red flesh was yelling: ‘dog, dog, try some dog meat’! This made my stomach turn and all I could think about was my little dog, Ponyo-chan back home in Australia. Although at the time I thought this was a wild dog like a dingo that was bread for meat (not your little fluffy kind). I will post about why shouldn’t eat mystery meat in China later.
My friend crunched through his scorpion and a few other leathery, oozing bugs while I posed with his scorpion-on-a-stick.
Later that evening after meeting with some fellow travelers I learned of an American lady getting very sick trying the scorpion-on-a-stick for the first time. I discovered that sometimes the poison doesn’t completely cook out and can cause a wide array of painful side-effects.
I have no problem with eating bugs- I’ve eaten a few lime and salt-covered crickets in Mexico and a bug or two in Bangkok.
Eating bugs is a great thing for the planet and to be able to use bug protein and bug flour in developing countries and other is very foreseeable and very earth and human friendly.
In my next post I will explain something quite horrific and let you know as to why you shouldn’t eat mystery meat on a stick in China.
If you really must try scorpion do the well-worn backpacker duty and try the over-priced (possibly poisonous) scorpion, however in my opinion the possibility of being poisoned is why you shouldn’t eat a Scorpion in Beijing China.