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Beijing: Ghost Street (Gui Jie) – A walk under the paper lanterns

by Sanne
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Ghost Street, Gui Jie, Beijing

Yesterday, I spent the entire evening walking up and down Ghost Street. This vibrant street is lined with Chinese restaurants and thousands of red paper lanterns shroud the street in an almost magical glow. Some may find it a bit kitschy in a “waving-cats-and-Mao-portrait-plates” kind of way, and I agree that this setting probably wouldn’t work anywhere else than in China.

There are over 100 restaurants along the 1-kilometer stretch that makes up Ghost Street, and whether you are looking for Peking duck, boiled frogs, fish head soup or fried insects, you’ll probably find it here. The best thing about it, was that you got the impression that all the exotic snacks on Ghost Street, were actually on the menu because of a real demand, as opposed to the snacks in Wangfujing snack street, where you couldn’t escape the feeling that most of the items were only sold to entertain tourists.

There is nothing that annoys me more than if I choose a place to eat and find out that the restaurant next door looks much nicer, so I ended up walking all the way down Ghost Street and halfway back again before I decided on a restaurant, where I had my dinner.

The restaurant was packed and I thought it was because the food there was extraordinarily good. Though, I later found out that it was probably more because of the cheap beer. However, the Peking duck I got was really nice and it was wonderful to be able to sit outside.

Although Ghost Street is supposed to be a rather famous part of Beijing, I didn’t see many tourists while I was there, and far from all restaurants had menus in English. Most of the restaurants offered very inexpensive and delicious looking food so it’s definitely not the last time I visit Ghost Street. Maybe next time, I’ll go for the fried locusts or a bowl of sour pig brain?

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