Monthly Archives: June 2009

Donghuamen Snack Street 東華門美食街

Snack Street 10

The Chinese love to eat and enjoy snacking. Along almost any major street, there are street vendors selling all kinds of snacks. In an area like Wangfujing that has a high concentration of tourists and visitors, Donghaumen Snack Street is the perfect way to sample some of Beijing’s traditional snacks. The vendors in Donghuamen Snack Street start setting up around 4:30pm and are open for business well into the night. The area gets pretty crowded, as it is a popular stop with tour groups that spend the day shopping in Wangfujing. Donghuamen Snack Street is named after the eastern side gate of the Forbidden City, as the street leads directly to this gate. It features some of the most popular and famous snacks in Beijing such as the chuan’r (kabob) and bingtang hulu (candied crabapples on a stick) as well as other regional specialties. The traditional chuan’r is mutton on a stick grilled over a charcoal grill and slathered in a dipping sauce. At Donghuamen one can get chuan’r with a variety of ingredients such as chicken, beef, shrimp, and more exotic items such as squid, octopus, starfish, seahorses, mantis prawns, innards (liver, intestines, etc), snails, and insects. The chuan’r are raw and they will cook the ones you pick out for you on the spot. You can also get bingtang hulu with the traditional crabapples, or with other fruits such as honeydew, cantaloupe, grapes, and strawberries. If that is not your cup of tea, there are always traditional noodles, stinky tofu, fried ice cream, Shanghai xiaolong buns, and fruit drinks. As this is a popular tourist stop and has been featured on many TV shows including the Travel Channel, prices are a bit higher than other food stalls, but it is a great way to try a lot of snacks at once. If anything I really enjoyed looking at the variety of food the vendors had there.

中國人好喜歡小吃。大街小巷都有賣食物的攤檔。 王府井有東華門美食街,一條賣小吃的街, 方便遊客和參觀者在王府井買完東西來這裡品嘗北京小吃。東華門美食街從紫禁城東邊的東華門得名。 這條街可以直接通道東華門。這裡的攤檔4:30下午開始營業直到深夜。 這裡有北京有名的串兒 和冰糖葫蘆, 也有中國其 他地方的小吃。有很多种即挑即煮的串兒比如 羊肉,雞肉, 牛肉, 蝦,魷魚,墨魚,海星,海馬, 雞干,雞心,雞腸,和好多種蟲類。還有用各種各樣水果做的冰糖葫蘆。別的小吃包括麵條,小籠包,臭豆腐,炸雪糕, 和果汁。熱鬧的東華門是很好的地方來試多種小吃。 由於王府井是有名旅遊地方,價錢會比其他攤檔貴一點。但是如果到王府井逛街,到這裡看看也很有氣氛。

Snack Street 2

Snack Street 4


Dashilar 大柵欄


Dazhalan, affectionately known as Dashilar in the local Beijing dialect is the most famous traditional commercial area in Beijing. It is located within walking distance just south of the Forbidden City。

大柵欄是北京最有名的傳統商業區。從紫禁城往南走大概5 分鐘就到了. 


Dashilar, meaning “the great fence” has been a commercial hub in Beijing since the 1400’s (Ming Dynasty). Establishments such as restaurants, theaters, shops, etc that were not allowed in the inner city found a home here and it quickly blossomed into a commercial area. Originally named Langfang Sitiao, it was renamed Dashilar for the fences built at both ends of the street. During the Ming and Qing dynasties a curfew was often imposed, and the fences on this and many other streets were closed to keep thieves out.

大柵欄從明代 ,1400年左右,已經是繁榮的商業區。有些不許在内城做生意的商店,餐館,和娛樂場所就在外城這裡做生意。大柵欄原名是廊坊四條。 爲了治理社區住安,北京在明清兩朝在很多條街的街口建了木柵欄 來防盜。每條街的居民都出錢建自己街的木柵欄。由於大柵欄的柵欄是本街的商店出錢建,它就是最大最堅固的。 這條街就是這樣得名的.

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Dashilar signage that marks the street. You actually can’t miss it because it is a butling street.


During the Ming and Qing dynasties, Dashilar was teeming with activity. This was the place to be for one-stop shopping, dining, and entertainment. There were shops of all types, theaters, restaurants, inns and hotels, as well as some seedier joints. The shops were well established high quality luxury and status brands. These shops earned their status by producing quality products at fair prices. Being in close proximity to the Forbidden City, the shops were heavily patronized by royalty and high officials, as well as wealthy merchants.

明清時代,大柵欄充滿活動,是一個繁榮的商業區。有多項商店,餐館,戲院,會館,和旅館。當時,這裡的商店是最高級的品牌。它的質量是最好的,價格也公平。很多王親國戚,大臣,和 富商都在這裡買東西。

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Architectural detail. On the left is a traditional silk shop with western inspired architecture. On the right is a building in the traditional style architecture. On the bottom is a lantern in the style of the imperial court.

左邊譧祥益絲綢店的建築有些西方的影響, 右邊的商店是中國傳統的建築, 下面的照片是中國宮燈。

Many of these shops are still in operation today, some in the same buildings they have been in for over a century. Notable shops include:

  • Tongrentang Traditional Medicine Shop 同仁堂 (1669) has supplied herbs and medicines to the imperial court, including the emperor。
  • Ruifuxiang Silk Shop est. 1893 has a beautiful array of silks, fabrics, and traditional Chinese clothing. You can choose the fabrics and have them custom make clothing for you in the store.
  •  Majuyuan Hat Shop est. 1811 (Now Dongsheng Hat Shop) made hats for court officials and satin boots for nobility.
  •  Neiliansheng Shoe Store made shoes and boots for high officials. This store is 3 floors and has all kinds of traditional Chinese shoes in a myriad of different styles, colors, and materials.
  • Zhangyiyuan– tea
  • Liubiju– Chinese preserved vegetables
  • Daguanlou– the first Chinese movie was shown at this theater   
  •  同仁堂 (1669)藥房,配草藥和中藥給皇室 和皇帝
  • 瑞蚨祥 (1893)賣絲綢,綢緞,和其它布料。 可以定做傳統中國衣服。
  • 馬聚元 (1811)定做帽子和布鞋給古代貴族,朝中文武官, 商人,等等。
  • 内聯升– 定做帽子和布鞋給古代貴族,朝中文武官, 商人,等等。這商店有各種各樣款色的傳統中國的鞋。 好像回到古代中國的鞋店。
  • 張一元– 茶葉
  • 六必居– 榨菜
  • 大觀樓– 中國第一部影片就在這裡放映 

If you go:

  • Plan to spend some time wandering through the stores. They are museums in and of themselves that shed light on the commercial culture of Old Beijing.
  • Grab a map (or not) and take a stroll through the area hutongs. There are tons of interesting places to discover- shops, eats, hostels, beautiful architecture.
  • Great place for souvenirs
  • Great place for traditional Chinese goods- clothing made out of beautiful silks and brocades with intricate embroidery, shoes, tea, food, etc.


  • 一定要進商店看看。 這裡的商店好像博物館一樣,給我們了解老北京的商業界和商品。
  • 戴張地圖逛胡同。這裡的胡同有很多歷史文物和有趣的地方- 商店,餐館/小吃,旅店, 古色建築,等等。
  • 買紀念品的好去處
  • 麥中國傳統貨品的好地方- 綢緞旗袍和棉襖,布鞋, 茶葉,食物,等等。