Shopping in China

A visit to China must include a lot of time for shopping as it can be as interesting as the sightseeing in the country’s ancient cultural sites. Chinese goods such as silk, jade, porcelain, antiques, curios and, of course, Chinese tea should be on the must-buy list of all visitors.

Shopping in China offers a special something for every taste. Each product is delicately crafted and will prove a great topic during evening-dinner-party conversations for many years to come!

Fill your suitcase while Shopping in China. Read on and we will tell you all you need to know to get the best deals and learn about the best places to shop in China. If you get hungry during your shopping spree, stop for some finger food or relax in one of the Restaurants in China.

Chinese Silk is exquisite

Chinese silk is likely on the top of every visitor’s shopping list. The Chinese were the first to rear silkworms and produce this luxurious and wondrous material. With each dynasty, unique styles of embroidery and brocade were incorporated in the production of silk. For instance, the Shu brocade originated during the Han dynasty and the Yun Brocade originated during the Yuan dynasty. Hangzhou Brocade, Sichuan Brocade, Suzhou Figured Satin and Crepe Silk, and Dandong Tussah Silk are the most typical varieties to look out for. The embroideries from Jiangsu, Hunan, Guangdong and Sichuan provinces are very popular.

The export of silk to Europe also opened up the Silk Route and it was a major import of the Roman Empire. This was when Emperor Wu Di of the western Han Dynasty decided to promote trade with other countries. Today, the Suzhou and Hangzhou regions produce high quality silk as the natural conditions in these areas are favourable for growth of silkworms and mulberry cultivation. 

Perhaps the most well known drink - Chinese Tea

Another first from China is the cultivation and consumption of tea. Tea first originated in the south-western region of China and even today 2,700-year-old wild tea trees can be found here. There are eight classes of Chinese Tea – Green Tea, Red Tea, Black Tea, White Tea, Oolong Tea, Yellow Tea, Flower Tea and Compressed Tea.

The most popular teas in Chinese markets are Pilochun Tea, Qihong Tea, Yuanfeng Tea, Dahongpao Tea, Jasmine Tea, Silver Needle Tea, and Tieguanyin Tea.

For the Chinese, tea drinking is an important aspect of their culture. So do indulge in the wonderful variety of teas available in China.

Chinese Alcoholic Beverages

Chinese alcoholic drinks are distinctive from those available in other countries. After a drink or two a visitor gets accustomed to its unique flavour. Chinese alcohol has a complicated method of production and it is fermented from broomcorn, corn, rice and wheat. Chinese alcoholic beverages are classified into four types: Yellow wine, Fruit wine, White or Clear Spirits, and Beer.

Yellow wine is so called because of its yellow colour and lustre. It is made from rice or sticky rice and its alcohol content varies from 10 to 15%. Fruit wine is fermented using various fruits such as grapes, pears, oranges, hawthorn berries, litchis, sugarcane, and waxberries. Grape wines are, however, the most popular. White or Clear Spirits are derived from wine and spirits to which fragrances from fruits, herbs or flowers are added. Beer production started rather late in China, in the early 20th century. Today, beer production is also a thriving industry.

Several brands of alcoholic beverages have made it to the market and some of the popular ones are Shaoxing Yellow Wine, Maotai Liquor of Guizhou, Tsindao Beer, Fen Liquor of Shanxi, Wuliangye Liquor of Sichuan, Gold Prize Brandy, Shacheng White Wine of Hebei and Minquan White Wine of Henan.

Chinese medicines

Chinese medicine has an unbroken tradition since the 3rd century B. C. and is a comprehensive system of medicine quite different from the Western school of medicine. It forms a major part of the healthcare system in China. Chinese medicines are made using different herbs and also some animal parts and is known to treat various ailments ranging from skin disorders and gynaecological problems to diabetes and psychological problems. These medicines are also known to enhance immunity and energy levels in the human body. Ginseng, Clam, Donkey hide gelatine and Pilose Antler are some popular Chinese medicines used.

Chinese Arts and Crafts

China has had a glorious past in developing its arts and craft. It is difficult to choose from the amazing variety of artefacts available from the different regions of China. Some of the well known crafts are the silk embroidery from Suzhou, Hunan, Guangzhou and Sichuan; sculpture and wood carving from Dongyuang; pottery and porcelain from Jindezhen and Jiangxi Province; the Hui Ink Stick of Anhui; the Zhaoqin Ink Slab; Brush of Wu Xing and Paper Cuts made by the peasant women of Zhejiang. Glassware, Woven Products, Printing and Dyeing, Batik and Hand-made Carpets are other craft items found in the country.

Chinese Antiques are a specialty

Chinese antiques find a pride of place in many celebrity homes of the world today. These ancient works of art are found in several places in China. The Liulichang area of Beijing City is known throughout China for its ancient books, calligraphy, paintings, rubbings, ink stones and ink. The 780-year-old cultural street was also recently revamped to make it more tourist friendly. The area has Qing Dynasty-style buildings, with shops offering blue-and-white porcelain, calligraphy scrolls and materials, old costumes and furniture.

Another popular place to source antiques is the Beijing Curio City, located in Dongsanhuan Nanlu in the Chaoyang district. It is Asia's biggest curio, arts and crafts trade centre with nearly 250 curio shops housed in its premises. This is also a centre where the Beijing Cultural Relics Bureau certifies the genuineness of antiques. The dealers themselves are experts at identifying good pieces and can advise a buyer wisely.