Today I Have a Dinner in Huguosi Snack Food Store
There is no better illustration of what Beijingers eat during the Spring Festival than food offered by traditional snack food (xiao chi: small eats) stores throughout Beijing. The Huguosi Snack Food Store is a great example of the
The present location of the store was formerly the site of a famous temple fair in the western part of the city where the most famous "small eats" food brands flourished. In 1956 a state-owned traditional snack store was established.
Today the store is one of the few old brand-name state-owned businesses that still continue this tradition.
According to Li Qiuhua, manager of the store: nian gao (glutinous rice cake), dou bao (steamed buns with smashed red bean stuffing), xi zi bing (a cake with the Chinese character for 'happiness' on it) and mian yu'er (a cake shaped like a fish) are some of the most popular foods at the store during big holiday shopping.
Most of these foods carry auspicious meanings. For example, nian gao literally means: “better this year than last year”. The fish cake is considered auspicious because fish in Chinese (yu) means surplus. The Chinese hope they are prosperous and rich in each New Year.
Other foods available include many kinds of traditional Beijing 'small eats.' Some of the most famous treats are lu da gun (rolling donkey): a soft yellow rice and soybean cake, ai wo wo: a white glutinous rice cake with a variety of stuffing, wan dou huang: a smooth tasting yellow pea cake and jiao quan: deep-fried crispy flour ring.