From bizarre to beautiful, Beijing cooks up a storm
With the opening of Olympics games today China has laid out all its interesting cuisine which many tourist might consider things eaten in China to be distasteful but they are delicacies in many parts of China.
Fancy a seahorse kebab, deep-fried scorpion, or maybe duck liver paste shaped as a table tennis bat? Beijing, a city known for its culinary diversity, is offering everything from the bizarre to the beautiful when it comes to food during the August 8-24 Olympics with visitors urged to be adventurous and not put off by the unusual.
Some of the city's estimated 40,000 restaurants have added sporting twists to menus in keeping with the Chinese tradition of marking special occasions with unique culinary creations.
The Quanjude, a well-known Peking duck restaurant, has a range of dishes with an Olympic theme such as abalone shaped like a rowing boat with asparagus oars, baby corn baseball bats, and noodle baskets shaped like the Olympic "Bird's Nest" stadium.
Sports bars around the city were hoping the influx of seven million visitors for the Games would benefit them, such as the W Restaurant and Bar in the popular Sanlitun area that is co-owned by former Swedish table tennis champion Jan-Ove Waldner.
"Everyone is going to be thinking sports all the time and we will have the Olympics showing all the time," said Chris Lee, chief executive of W Restaurant that has a table tennis table in the dining area for diners needing some exercise.
Even though dog meat has officially been taken off the menu for the Olympic Games so as not to offend foreign visitors, tourists can still find a wide range of unusual delicacies.
The Guolizhuang restaurant specialises in animal penises while there are several donkey restaurants.
Stalls along Snack Street in the Wangfujing shopping district sell a range of delicacies on sticks such as seahorses for 30 yuan (2.26 pounds) and cicadas for five yuan.
The Chinese traditionally believe certain animals or their organs have medicinal properties.
"The seahorses are good for men's kidneys and their virility. Those (crustacea) are for the girls to improve their skin and looks, and these (lizards) are for both the boys and the girls, they boost your virility," said food vendor Sun Hainan.
However there appeared to be few takers on Snack Street.
"I haven't tried them and I'm not going to," said 11-year-old Fang Jie from Chingdao who was in Beijing for the Olympics.