The 1442-meter-long Ghost Street (簋(鬼)街) has always been called by Beijing locals, located at Dongzhimen (东直门) in Dongcheng (East) District. It is also very near to the embassy area. Thus the excellent geographical location gives great restaurants to have good business opportunities there. The 148 shops among the 150 on the street are restaurants.
It will be an interesting story about the origin of the odd name of this food street. It was told by old Beijing residences that each of the City Gates had it specific use in the Qing Dynasty, such that Deshengmen was for the dispatch of the imperial forces, withdrawal was to Yongdingmen and criminal execution was at Xuanwumen. While Dongzhimen Gate, was applied to transfer wood material in and death people out of Beijing. Fifty years ago, the children there liked to play in the City Gate Tower, they could see a large graveyard in the outer side of Dongzhimen. At that time the tower was actually the crossover area of urban and rural, so it was the first morning market in Beijing. The hawkers sold fruits and groceries before dawn, their red gas light lanterns moved with the wind. The street scene was full of coffin stores. Therefore the street had been called the Ghost Market. Coincidently, many businesses were closed because they had been hard to go on, but only the restaurant business could withstand the bad luck. And strangely these restaurants were empty in daytime but so crowded at night.
However, the name "Ghost" (鬼) was bad for a food street, so, there was someone found another Chinese character with the same pronunciation - "簋" (Gui), which meant a utensil that carried cooked food in the past. This word has something connected with food that also made people happy. Nowadays Gui Street is a famous snack street in Beijing. It has a lot of budget choices for local people and foreign tourists, such as Quick-fried Tripe, Spicy Crayfish and Lamb Spine Hot Pot are most favorite dishes there. Many of the restaurants are 24-hour service.
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