*This article is a featured post on Channel NewsAsia*
Situated in the heart of the city, the Kaifeng Night Market is pulsating with energy at nightfall, a terrific hangout place for both locals and foreigners alike. Full of local Chinese street food and snacks, the task to hunt for your next favorite delicacy amongst the vibrant night scene makes this place a great suppertime adventure.
An old city gate serves as a remarkable divider that separates the rows of food vendors into 2 sections. Start from the left or the right? Just remember – the food in the North is less spicy.
But if you rather follow your nose and your stomach, here’s a tasting guide:
Grilled Oysters as appetizers
Their appetizing looks instantly draw passers-by. Whether or not you are a fan of oysters, the sizzling, fragrant smell of the garlic would automatically make you draw out your wallet.
Spicy Teppanyaki Tofu… With a Chinese twist.
The Chinese population is well-known for their love for tofu, especially the slightly tougher ones as compared to the silkier and smoother versions favored by the Japanese. In Henan, other than the texture of the beancurd itself, one variation that makes it interesting is the spice – chili powder mixed with Chinese herbs. Not as daunting as it may appear to be, as the spiciness level is actually acceptable.
Deep Fried Insects for the bold and adventurous
Here comes the highlight – deep fried insetcs – definitely not an endeavor for the faint-hearted! You will find a wide array of insects on display, from the praying mantis, to crickets, butterfly pupas and scorpions. Did someone lose a science project? Well, they certainly are a sight to behold!
Stir-fried flat potato noodle as the main dish
This is probably one of the most popular stalls at the night market. If you are a fan of fried noodles, this is going to become your next favourite dish. Under the nimble hands of the cook, the flat potato noodles are savory, tender and oh-so-tasty.
Mian Cha for dessert
The literal translation for Mian Cha is “flour tea”, though this traditional Beijing dessert certainly does not look nor taste like tea! A concoction of glutinous flour boiled in hot Chinese tea, sweet pastry cubes, pineapple chunks, nuts and white fungus. This is a dessert that’s also a hearty meal in itself. So remember to reserve some space in your tummy!
Each street food costs no more than 20 RMB, which is a wallet-friendly way to spend the night while in Kaifeng!
Read more about my journey in Henan, the cradle of Chinese civilisation:
- Peony Festival in Luoyang (洛阳牡丹花会）
- A Visit to Emperor Wu Zetian’s Palace （一代女帝，武则天）
- The First Buddhist Temple in China （中国第一佛教古刹）
- #1 Attraction in Henan – The Longmen Grottoes（龙门石窟）
- Cultural Sites in Kaifeng – One of the 6 Chinese Ancient Capitals（开封古迹）
- Luoyang and Kaifeng Old Streets (洛阳与开封老街)