Monday, May 7, 2012

Street Shopping by the Qinhuai River

In almost any city and town in China, you’ll find plenty of areas for street shopping, a favorite pastime among locals. In certain cities though, a few places have already become famous and established with a long history for street shopping and great market finds. A particular one is the Fuzimiao area by the Qinhuai River, the biggest river in Nanjing. Nanjing’s Fuzimiao was first built in 1034 and during the Qing Dynasty emerged as a thriving commercial and entertainment center. Tons of small shops, restaurants and bars surround this area, and at night, it is sprinkled with colorful lights and neon signs.  

The Qinhuai River beside the lively Fuzimiao market in Nanjing
Just a short train ride away from Hefei, I took the opportunity recently to visit a good friend and indulge in some fun, honest-to-goodness Chinese-style street shopping (which means learning to bargain like a local!). This is a “must” to get a good deal anywhere in China.

The grand entrance to Fuzimiao market

Getting ready to shop!

Me and my friend Lisa by the Qinhuai river


local crafts/ specialties
Jade jewelry (necklaces, pendants, bracelets, earrings)
brocade and silks
Jinling folding fans
wood carvings
Yuhua tea and other local teas
posters and paintings of Chinese landscapes

Countless stores dot the streets of Fuzimiao
A lantern-decorated entrance to a shopping alley
A shop stand selling posters and puzzles of Chinese landscapes

This store with no English name sells an incredible variety of Jade jewelry
A beautiful ethnic store selling colorful lamps and trinkets
If you're feeling tired, a rickshaw ride might do.

Local treats such as "baozi" (steamed buns stuffed with pork)
are available for snacks. Also known as "siopao" in Hokkien, these
treats can also be filled with chicken, beef, shrimp & salted duck eggs.