Gui (Guǐ) street (簋街) is surrounded by many foreign embassies, allowing foreign tourists and foreign workers in Beijing to be able to easily enjoy authentic Chinese cuisine there. Annual profits solely from foreign guests reach up to thousands of yuan, in this stretch of over one kilometer. With 90% of the commercial shops in the street, housing more than 150 eateries you will definitely be able to find most of the larger restaurants in the capital here. Therefore Gui Street is also known as one of the more reknown food streets in Beijing. Visiting the street at night is an entirely different scene, with beautiful lights along the street set to charm you, showcasing the local Beijing Cuisine.
There are many famous Beijing snacks, like marinated and grilled dishes, fried animal internals, scorpions etc. and within the past few years, there has been a sudden outbursts of eateries selling spicy crayfish. In recent times, frog meat dishes and Chongqing fried fish have also started gaining popularity on Gui Street.
Being sited next to the foreign embassies, many foreign visitors visit Gui Street for a better understanding of the local food culture. What used to be groups of Chinese interacting over a dinner of spicy hot pot of the fragrant aroma of a grilled fish, has now become groups of foreigners assimilating into the scene. The foreigners here have slowly grown accustomed to the food and culture, undeniably been introduced successfully to the international scene as well.
It is only natural that the cuisines found on Gui Street will change with times and the preference of its consumers, thus, some might find that it is slowly losing its uniqueness, with many eateries selling the same food that is popular with its customers. This lost of its original cuisines and duplicates of the restaurant menus might cause it to become less interesting for late night foodies to explore. But even as the original cuisines are slowly phasing out, we can still find speciality cuisines from all over China. Dishes such as hotpots, claypot soups and porridges, etc can still be considered to be the uniqueness of the local Beijing food scene. We would definitely still wish to see more variety on Gui Street to bring our foreign visitors more choices and expose them to the colour of China's food culture.
Gui Street dining pattern is in a dumbbell shape, larger at the ends with a narrow center stretch, with the most popular restaurants in east and west ends. The popularity of the resturants at the ends can be be mainly attributed to factors such as the convenience of public transportation and the larger density of restaurants, bringing up the atmosphere.
Spicy crayfish, crab and other spicy spicy dishes are Gui Street flagship cuisines. The spicy fragrance attracts numerous repeat customers back for more.
On Gui Street, the price ranges around RMB 3 - 8 per crayfish. Generally, a group of 3 - 4 people will be sufficiently satisfied with around 40 crayfish and 3 or 4 other dishes, that will come up to about RMB 150 - 350 in total.
In 1989, Gui Street only had a few restaurants, but it was found that there is always waves of customers late into the night looking for supper there. Thus, many of the restaurants started extending their operation hours, where many are now open 24 hours a day. Gui Street has become a part of the night scene in Beijing, much more than just a place for a meal, but more like a way of life for the people.