Ghost St: Heart of Beijing’s culinary underground

Be it Peking roast duck or the current favorite – baked whole fish – Guijie’s eateries are quick on the mark, and always the first to offer them to their foodie clientele. But one thing never changes. This is where you go for that extra spicy kick.

But there is a fly in the soup. Not all restaurants on Ghost Street are above board. There are a few which have been found wanting – just as their customers have found themselves being shortchanged.

Earlier in the year, a reporter with Beijing News went undercover and exposed the darker aspects of these dishonest eateries – ranging from fish that suddenly shrank in weight on the way to the kitchen after customers had picked them out from the tanks out front, and dishes that were cooked with recycled ingredients.

The Beijing authorities immediately descended on the 15 restaurants and ordered them to get their acts together within a “specified time”.

For honest operators like Xiang, these cooks from hell are a blot on Guijie’s reputation.

“I hope every restaurant can do its part and be professional. Our reputations are bound together.”

But in the meantime, gourmets and gourmands will still flock to Ghost Street as the red lanterns brighten after dark. They just have to look more carefully at the restaurants they patronize, and avoid the phantom practices.

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Neighbours battle on the chess board

Photo Credits: yeldahtron

 

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