Chaoyang District is huge, and the places to buy fresh fruits and veggies in the district are numerous. So go back to Beijing’s roots and take a trip to a dedicated food market instead of a supermarket to stock up your kitchen. Small markets are located around the city, but the following are bigger than your average market and have unique twists that make them worth visiting if you happen to find yourself in the area or in need of their specific specialties.
1) Sanyuanli Market 三源里菜市场View In Map
This market is one long walkway with vendors on either side. Tucked away in the middle of Chaoyang, Sanyuanli is known to many Beijingers as a place where expats can go to find rare produce at better prices than import stores. Avocadoes almost never show up in regular Chinese markets, but they are widely sold at Sanyuanli. Asparagus, blueberries, strawberries, and sweet peppers stick around at this market when they disappear from the markets that sell only seasonal foods. Prices don’t beat import stores by much these days, but the produce is fresher at the market.
The other feature of this market is the availability of dairy products like cheese, butter and whipping cream, as well as other foreign products like cereal and cake mixes. Canned goods, sauces, and oils in Western and Chinese brands alike fill shelves in several stalls. Meat and fish are available, though some expats choose not to buy these even from a well-known place like this. Altogether, though, the wide selection and Western products make Sanyuanli the best one-stop market in Chaoyang, maybe in all of Beijing.
Add: Shunyuan Jie, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Opening hours: 05:00-19:00
Getting there: Take subway Line 10 to Liangmaqiao Station. It’s a bit of a walk or a cheap cab from there. To walk, take exit A and walk east along Xinyuan South Road. At the first intersection, take a right so you’re heading north, then veer right when the road forks. The market will be on your right.
2) Nanhu Market 南湖市场 View In Map
Well-known to those living in Wangjing, Nanhu Market has been undergoing a facelift recently. It’s still located under a long blue roof in the heart of Wangjing, but the interior has been shifting to incorporate a cleaner, higher-end market look. Fruits, vegetables and other ingredients are still all available, though, along with all the other goodies you’ve come to expect at a Chinese market. Prices are solidly cheap without bargaining, and the selection of produce available is good, though not as diverse as Sanyuanli. Count on getting your seasonal fruits and veggies but not avocadoes or dairy products.
Those shopping for Korean food and ingredients will find Nanhu especially helpful. Because Wangjing is the unofficial Korea Town of Beijing, you will find a lot more of a Korean influence on this market than you’ll find elsewhere. Both the ready-to-eat food and the fresh ingredients lend themselves a bit more to the Korean end here.
Add: Nanhu South Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Opening hours: 07:00-18:00
Getting there: Take subway Line 13 to Wangjing West Station. Then take the 445 bus for two stops, getting off at Huguang Zhongjie (湖光中街). Walk south, and look for the market on your right.
3) Dongjiao Market 东郊市场View In Map
Quite a bit bigger than the other markets mentioned here, Dongjiao is known as a restaurant supply market. If something is available in Beijing at all, it’s almost guaranteed to be here, and some things are found only here. Unless you live close, this is probably not where you’ll want to do your daily grocery shopping, but it is a great place to search for hard-to-find ingredients. Prices are good without bargaining, though you are free to try talking the price down a bit if you feel you’re getting a higher price for having a foreign face.
Especially for coffee snobs, this market is quite a find: relatively fresh coffee beans roasted locally, flavouring syrups, and almost any gadget you might need for your caffeine habit. It’s also the only place in Beijing where you can buy white chocolate syrup, a treat for those who miss white mochas around Christmas time. Tea drinkers aren’t left out, though; there’s a large selection of Chinese tea as well as imported brands. If you prefer to make drinks that are a bit stronger, you won’t be disappointed by the large selection of alcohol.
One last fun thing to look for at Dongjiao is restaurant packaging. Name-brand boxes and containers make it possible to make your homemade food look professional. Granted, it might be a bit odd to put a homemade pizza in a Pizza Hut box, but there could be uses for it. It’s worth it for the sight of seeing aisles full of familiar logos, all piled on top of each other.
Add: 12 West Dawanglu Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Opening hours: 08:00-17:00
Getting there: Take subway Line 1 to Dawanglu Station. Then head south on West Dawang Road until you cross a river. The market will be on the east side of the road.
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Keywords: food markets in Chaoyang Beijing fresh coffee Beijing finding cheese in Beijing
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