Guijie Street, which was built in 1997, is the most famous food street in Beijing. “Guijie” is from the west end of Dongzhimen Crossroads in the east to the east end of Jiaodaokoudong Avenue in the west. Eating on Ghost Street is about more than food and drink, it’s a way of life for many Beijingers.
The name of the Guijie street is said to derive from Beijing’s old “Ghost Fairs”. These fairs mainly sold groceries, vegetables and fruit ran from late at night until dawn. The traders’ kerosene lamps formed a ghostly sight from which the name “Ghost Fair” derived. Another explanation is that I the bustling Inner Dongzhimen Street was filled with taxi drivers eating late – night snacks, and most shops didn’t put up their shutters until the dawn while some stayed open all night. Later, the Commerce Commission changed the Chinese characters of “Ghost Street” into “Gui Jie”. The pronunciation is the same but the meanings are completely different. Gui refers to a round- mouthed food vessel with two or four loop handles in ancient China. This name weakens the ghostly overtones and enhances the eating character of the street.
Guijie street is lined with over 100 restaurants and most of them offer 24-hour service. The business here is particularly booming at night, when the street sparkles with red lanterns lightening.