PiChai Yuan│Food Market. The alleys of PiChai Yuan (PiChai Courtyard) are filled with traditional Chinese charm and amazing fresh food. The street is packed with stalls and restaurants offering Qingdao’s famous seafood. For the more adventurous, there are even insects and scorpions to munch on! I could have stayed in this market for HOURS because, visually, it is a photographer’s paradise! We highly recommend this market to anyone living in, or visiting, Qingdao. Who knows why it took us four years to find this place. I happened to stumble upon it in a random Qingdao blog post. This is the perfect place to try some delicious food while enjoying the fast paced – but also OH SO SLOW – atmosphere of this Old Town treasure.
The Pichai Yuan is located in Qingdao City, Zhongshan Road commercial circle, Zhongshan Road, Beijing Road, North Road, Tianjin Road, enclosed neighborhood. The Pichai Yuan road is also called Jangling Road. It was built in 1902, after the German occupation of Qingdao.
A couple of the alleyways were quiet, but others were packed! Since we were there on a Monday, the crowds were quite surprising. However, after about 20 minutes of entering the busiest area, we realized that there was a high school class excursion taking place. When all of the uniformed kids left this alleyway, there was plenty of room to explore once more.
Since most of these food seems relatively self-explanatory to us, we won’t explain each picture. Some of our readers like to message us and ask what certain things are… and I appreciate this because after almost seven years in Asia, much of this looks “normal” to us. So please, if we don’t explain something, don’t be afraid to ask!
The skewers below – deep fried coated prawns – looked really tempting.
Above, glutinous rice cake dessert cups. Each color represents a different flavoring. The green are green tea, for example, and the purple is sweet potato.
Below, Chinese Sea Urchins. These are a popular sight in Qingdao seafood markets. The urchin meat is covered with a thin layer of egg custard. The tony orange specs that you see are diced carrot.
Above, Liquid Nitrogen ice cream – a BIG CRAZE right now! As I said, we weren’t at the market long enough for my liking. I definitely would have tried this, but that’s okay. All the more reason to get back to this incredible market to give everything a try!
This has been described as the five minute way to make amazing ice cream. No cranking – no ice and rock salt mixtures – and you can forget about those electric ice cream makers. All you need is a little liquid nitrogen (-320°F), some creamy ingredients, and an appetite for exploring the science of food. Watching the ice cream vendor make this liquid nitrogen ice cream was really intriguing!
As I mentioned at the beginning, there are MANY kinds of foods to sample in this market.
Including insects, lizards, sea horse, and scorpions…
Before we arrived at PiChai Yuan, I was determined to try some form of fried insect, but when we arrived everything seemed too rushed. I was really put off by the LIVE bugs that we skewered and waiting to be fried. I know that it shouldn’t make a difference, but it really does to me. I don’t even like choosing fish out of a tank before they are cooked for me. It seems barbaric!
So… maybe another day, when we are taking things are moving a little slower, and there aren’t live insects, with skewers through through their bellies, waiting to be fried. Maybe then. But Monday just wasn’t my day for that.
Justin was a trooper! Since the crowds were quite heavy when we first arrived in the main part of the food market, he waited to one side and enjoyed a beer while Elijah napped in the stroller. We assumed that this market might not be suitable for a stroller, especially since it has cobblestone floors and infamously large crowds. However, on a weekday morning, I think that a stroller is not a problem at all. Once the high school students cleared the area, we had more then enough room to push Elijah and enjoy the sight and sounds.
PiChai is a gem!
We are absolutely returning to this Food Market in the Fall!