Oh by the way, did you know that access to Livejournal.com is completely blocked within China (Edit: as of March 2007)? LJs such as this one, with their state-smashing photos of yesterday's lunch, are a threat to the Communist Party.
I hadn't eaten all night and all the next morning so I could feast as much as possible when I got to Beijing. After an hour's wait in immigration/customs at the airport, an hour's drive to the hotel, and a fricking hour's walk before I found any suitable grindage, I was beyond hungry and feeling faint when I approached this street stall. It was in the parking lot of a KFC, and I must admit that in my hunger-addled state I seriously considered the KFC option. How easy to go in and point at the picture menu and obtain a disgustipating chicken sandwich; what a pain in the ass to stand there and observe all the customers in line ahead of me, figure out what to do at the street stall, then endure the mutual awkwardness of actually transacting with the streetmeatsketeer.
It was worth it to get the street meat. I got a plastic basket and selected skewers of raw stuff, then handed it to the guy, who boiled it all up in a chili-pod-studded broth, slathered it with peanut sauce and packed it into a box.
I picked quail eggs, two kinds of tofu (the thing that looks like high school boyfriend skin is tofu), Chinese cabbage, spinach, and mushrooms. You can see black peppercorns, spring onions, and chili pods from the broth. The whole box was RMB5=$0.66 and 100% delect.
PS When I was a kid, my entire family succumbed to a reading frenzy of a book called That Quail, Robert, which anthropomorphized this one quail, Robert, and effectively destroyed my future appetite for quail eggs. It's only recently that I've realized that Robert's unborn children (*sob!*) are actually superior to chicken eggs because both of the eggy taste sensations, yolk and white, are contained in one bite.