Let’s take it from the top. Beijingers love to spend weekends with their families at Shichahai Lake, situated in the North of the city. This is truly a wonderful excursion site with stunningly beautiful scenery, hundreds of pleasant restaurants and cafés, as well as the option of seeing hutongs, traditional Chinese quarters. If you have a few hours to spare in Beijing – come here!

For those who only want a quick snack on the go, Shichahai Lake has plenty of these stands, luring you with the specific frying aroma. It can be described as a combination of a grill and McDonald’s.

Drawn by this intoxicating smoke, I studied the offer more carefully and saw this! Yes, these are scorpions, lined on wooden skewers. Price: 20 yuan per skewer ($3). To try or not to try? The answer is familiar, I don’t want to be a boring old-timer!

I gave the ‘chef’ 20 yuan and grabbed a skewer straight away, so that I didn’t have any time to change my mind; packed the first scorpion in my mouth and started biting. It was nothing special, rubbery and tasteless, as if I were chewing on an albino Haribo gummy bear.

However, the chef started screaming his heart out, in Mandarin, which I didn’t understand, but his gestures were clear – spit, spit, spit! The scorpion was raw and it stops being poisonous only after frying. Luckily, I didn’t swallow…

It turns out that once the spiky thing is spiced up and dunked into hot oil for a few minutes, it is quite tasty! Fried scorpions are crunchy and salty and seem like you are eating popcorn. Supposedly, they are abundant with nutrients.

In the end, the chef wanted to pose for a photo with the pinhead who almost got poisoned, holding a bucket of raw, still alive baby scorpions. I guess it’s because of people like me why he also servers bubble tea.

Nothing sounded squeamish after this. I came across fried silkworm cocoons, as well as fried sea horses. Piece of cake after deadly raw cooking. I will have a story for my grandkids…