Beijing, like many old cities in China, is filled with narrow, winding alleys. Turn a corner and you might see a street stall selling dumplings, a resident hanging wet clothes on a clotheline, or, in the case of Nanluoguxiang Alley (the Chinese word for these types of alleys is "hutong), a sumptuous array of food vendors. You can find all the street food your appetite desires. But the alley has a speciality--desserts. We walked from one end to the other, trying some of the most unfamiliar options.
Eating (and making!) 3D spun sugar figurines was the highlight of the day. The way it works is first heat up a vat of caramel. Next, you find a partner to blow into the caramel while the craftsperson shapes the caramel into the shape of animal.
Most of the figurines were one of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac, which include rats, dragons and snakes.
Once the figurine is complete, it dries almost instantly, creatin a thin and brittle dessert. It shattered after taking just one bite, but that bite was delicous.
The experience alone was worth it.