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Walk down this Beijing alley for 5 unforgettable desserts

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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.

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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.

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Most of the figurines were one of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac, which include rats, dragons and snakes.

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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.

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