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You are here: Home >> Beijing Attractions >> Beijing Huguosi Snack Street

Beijing Huguosi Snack Street

History
In the life of old Beijing there was hardly any event as lively as a temple fair with its observances, operas, acrobatics, toys and especially its special foods and treats. One of these fairs which is one of the most important nine held during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) was the Huguosi Temple Fair on the eighth day of every month on the lunar calendar. From this tradition, Huguosi (Huguo Temple) snacks emerged more than 300 years ago.

Though the Huguosi Temple Fair has not survived the passage of time, the great variety of traditional Beijing snacks has been handed down generation by generation. Most Huguosi snacks are visually appealing and sweet. They are regarded as representative of Beijing snacks. In 1956, the Beijing Municipal Government founded the Huguosi Snack Bar, and invited at least ten Beijing traditional snacks makers to work there. From a small snack store, it developed into one of Beijing's largest chain-store operations with nine branches producing traditional Beijing snacks.

Huguosi Snack Street   Huguosi Snack Street

Locals living around the nine branch stores have always been their major customers, and in this regard, nothing has changed. Many of them arrive early of a morning and order a few snacks and a soup. Ms. Li, the production manager of Huguosi Snack Bar, now managed by the Beijing-based Ju De Hua Tian Group, said, "Unlike in the past, more customers now come at noon or in the evening. They may not bother to cook at home." Another big change is that the number of young customers is increasing, which is somewhat unusual because in the past Beijing snacks were more popular among the elderly than among the young.

"We conduct research and learn from others so we can make improvements in our snacks' flavours, colours and shapes, as we do with our food containers. For example, people now are inclined to eat foods with smaller amounts of sugar, so we try to add less sugar in all the sweet snacks. Another example is that we experiment a lot to ensure that the colours of the foods are tempting. Of course, we use no chemical additives.

"The snack bar offers more than 80 kinds of snacks. When festivals come, we add 20 special snacks such as yuanxiao (sweet dumplings made of sticky rice, usually eaten during the Lantern Festival) with different fillings. In general, at a Huguosi Snack Bar, 5 yuan or 6 yuan is enough for one person's lunch or dinner."

The snack bar has created two special feasts or banquet servings that feature different kinds of snacks. Priced at 400 yuan (US$50) and 500 yuan (US$63), the first feast features 10 kinds of snacks, while the second has 18 with such favourites as sticky rice cake and bean jelly. These two feasts have set menus. However, if a special kind of snack is required, it can be used to replace another snack on the menu.

The Huguosi Snack Bar knows its clientele very well and is very sensitive to their special needs. For instance, ethnic Hui Muslims never eat pork. Any meats they consume should be prepared by a special group of people from within their own ethnic group to ensure that they are clean, unpolluted and suitable for Hui consumption. The Huguosi Snack Bar has its own food suppliers to guarantee the safety and quality of its raw materials. Early each morning, special contingents of the Hui are invited to prepare the meats (mainly beef and mutton) served at Huguosi's snack bars. For this reason, many Huis prefer to eat there.

Stories and pictures illustrating Beijing snacks, many of which were enjoyed by Beijing's imperial elite, can be found at Huguosi Snack Bars. This helps customers learn more about the history of Beijing snacks, as with the famous writer Lao She who was a frequent visitor at the Huguosi Snack Bar and who wrote several pieces on Beijing snacks. According to Ms. Li, the street where the original Huguosi Snack Bar is located is likely to become a "snack-bar street."

What you can see?
Many foreign visitors are a little disappointed when they are surrounded by modern and trendy buildings mushrooming in and around Beijing. People expect to see something more Chinese and traditional, typical of Beijing. Then come to visit the ancient streets in Beijing. These ancient streets are full of stories, full of history and full of culture.

Huguosi Street is a 600m-long ancient commercial street named after the former Huguosi Temple in Xicheng District. It starts from Xinjiekou Dajie in the west and ends at Deshengmen Neidajie in the east. Huguosi Street has a history of over 800 years when it was first formed in Yuan Dynasty.

Huguosi Snack Street   Huguosi Snack Street

It is now one of the most famous commercial streets in Beijing. Huguosi Street was very busy and clustered with numerous shops and restaurants. It would be very crowded and busy in spring festival when the temple fair starts. Today Huguosi Street still keeps its original culture and layout with many street-front stores and restaurants, along the Huguosi Street. People’s Theatre was revamped and availabe to the domestic and foreign visitors.

Useful Information For Visiting Huguosi Snack Street
Admission Fee Free
Transportation By Subway
Line 4: EXIT B, pinganli Station of Subway line 4, when you get off at Pinganli Station of Subway 4, you will see a huge signboard posted on the street of the wall leading to the ancient street. For the most time in a year, Huguosi Street is thronged with visitors. They come here to explore the histry and culture hidden behind its traditional street.
Suggested time for a visit 1-2 hours

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