There is no better illustration of what Beijingers eat during the Spring Festival than food offered by traditional snack food (xiao chi, small eats) stores throughout Beijing.
Huguosi Snack Food Store is a great example of the festive food shops.
The present location of the store was formerly the site of a famous temple fair in the west part of the city, where the most famous "small eats" food brands thronged. In 1956 a State-owned traditional snack store was established.
Today the store is one of the few old brand-name State-owned businesses that still continue this tradition.
According to Li Qiuhua, manager, nian gao (glutinous rice cake), dou bao (steamed buns with smashed red bean stuffing), xi zi bing (a cake with the Chinese character for 'happiness' on it) and mian yu'er (cake shaped like a fish) are some of the most popular foods at the store during big holiday shopping.
Most of these carry auspicious meanings, too. For example nian gao literally means better this year than last year. The fish cake is considered auspicious because fish in Chinese (yu) means surplus. The Chinese hope they are prosperous and rich in the New Year.
Other foods available include many kinds of traditional Beijing 'small eats.' Some of the most famous treats are lu da gun (rolling donkey), a soft yellow rice and soybean cake, ai wo wo, a white glutinous rice cake with a variety of stuffing, wan dou huang, a smooth tasting yellow pea cake, and jiao quan, deep-fried crispy flour ring.
As this is a Muslim food store, there are also beef, mutton and chicken, as well as many other 'small eats.'
For 'small eats," visit the following stores:
Huguosi Traditional Snack Food Store
Location: No 93 Huguosi Dajie
Huguosi Traditional Snack Food Store No 2 Branch
Location: No 15 Xinjiekou Nandajie
Di'anmen Traditional Snack Food Store
Location: No 180 Di'anmenwai Dajie
Xincheng Traditional Snack Food Store
Location: No 10 Xinjiekou Beidajie
Xi'anmen Traditional Snack Food Store
Location: No 89 Xi'anmen Dajie