Results 1-3of 3 Reviews
May 22, 2005
The modern shopping malls are vast and generally uninspiring. I cannot be enthusiastic about the architecture, but they are very roomy and bright. The shops were fairly characterless, typical of a huge shopping mall. In contrast, the small boutiques on Wangfujing are intimate and often crammed with quality clothes at often bargain prices. I don’t know if we fell lucky, but there seemed to be sales in almost every other shop. On Wangfujing, we found small designer-label outlets, reputable "chain stores", speciality shops (one selling only chopsticks), jewellers, and loads of shoe shops and sportswear retailers. No bargaining to be had if a sale was in progress, but to be honest, the prices were exceptionally good in those circumstances.
We found a small permanent market just off Wangfujing. Entry was a little seedy, and my wife was initially a little reluctant, but it was fine. A courtyard surrounded by low-quality food stalls led to an extremely narrow alleyway flanked by stallholders anxious to make a deal. This market is mainly silk wear, bric-a-brac, and chopsticks. We hurled ourselves into negotiating for a set of chopsticks and ended up with 20 pairs for less a third of the price of the original asking price for ten. I got the impression that stallholders were having a lean time – great news for us tourists!
The Donghuamen market was originally formed in 1984, with stores selling a variety of foods based on speciality Beijing snacks. An official plaque at the beginning of the market declares, "In 2000, to carry forward the culinary culture and enhance the friendly exchanges with foreign countries, the people’s government rebuilt the night market for dainty snacks". Now there are almost 100 stalls in this well-lit road with chef’s sporting clean white overalls, hats and red aprons. Here you can buy all manner of food. We saw small toffee apples, pineapple fritters, coconuts and all manner of exotic drinks. Skewered snakes were menacingly thrust at us by stalls holders who taunted us to try and deep fried insects were forlornly lined up in display bowls. There were a range of animal’s heads (for show or to eat?) and a number of items looking as if they were the genitalia of ex-rampant animals.
The area was remarkably free of "bad aromas" and although locals were buying and eating groups of tourists tended to look and photograph. This market had a great feel to it and although I was tempted to chew on an insect I did resist (now back home I regret I "didn’t have a go"). Don’t miss this market; the sounds, smells, and atmosphere are just sensational.
From journal The Bustle of Central Beijing
August 5, 2002
From journal Study in China 2
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
April 5, 2002
We visited Wangfujing a number of times during our stay in Beijing. On one occasion we visited a teashop where we were served Oolong tea (green tea from Oolong) and tea candies. We bought boxes of teabags in preparation for our various train journeys (we were also hoarding the ones that were left in our hotel room each day!). Another time we stopped at the Arts and Crafts Store (293 Wangfujing Dajie), which has a huge selection of jade and other precious stones. We all bought (not-so-precious) stones that were carved into different shapes or animals and threaded onto red cord to wear as a necklace. I bought a jade goldfish. Yuan told me that in China the fish represents prosperity and abundance. The store also had a good selection of vases, other trinkets, and fabulous furniture carved out of gnarled wood and lacquered a deep shiny red. However, most of the items in the store were too expensive for us - we spent most of our money in the markets where you can bargain.
Other times we wandered through the posh boutiques and department stores, although clothing sizes looked pretty small and I never bothered trying anything on. There are several teahouses where you could go to refresh yourself (and a Dunkin Donuts, if that's more to your liking) and lots of places to eat. One night we ate dinner in a canteen in one of the department stores. Another time we tried the Dong'anmen night market, where push carts were set up with all sorts of exotic snacks. It was open every night from about 6 pm at the northern end of Wangfujing near the Bank of China.
From journal Bumbling Through Beijing