Eating out in Beijing is convenient, but it’s just not satisfying as cooking at home. There are small markets scattered across almost every neighborhood, but if you need a bigger one to stock up on essentials at, the following markets will do nicely. Asides from groceries, they also offer a window into local culture; set your kids loose in the rows of colorful stalls and don’t be shy to ask about unfamiliar Chinese vegetables or products. With Halloween coming up, it’s also time to look out for large orange pumpkins; let us know in the comments where you found yours.
Chaonei Nanxiaojie Vegetable Market 朝内南小街菜市场
Located within East Second Ring Road, this two-floor food market stocks everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to spices, dried fruits, drinks, cooked food, meat, and eggs. Grains can be delivered to home if you purchase in bulk. There is also a pharmacy on the second floor and a police station next door.
Daily 7am-7pm. Gate 14, Bldg 12, Chaoyangmen Nanxiaojie, Dongcheng District (8402 4788) 东城区朝阳门南小街12号楼14门
Chongwenmen Market 崇文门市场
This time-honored market is a favorite with Beijingers. It is known for its quality meat, reasonable prices, and many stalls selling Muslim products and desserts. There is also a Wu Mart and Daoxiangcun bakery (where you can get traditional lao Beijing snacks) here.
Daily 8am-9pm. 1 Guangqumenwai Dajie, Chaoyang district (6701 8014) 朝阳区广渠门外大街1号
Sanyuanli Market 三源里菜市场
The newly-renovated Sanyuanli Market is the market of choice for many expats and chefs. The market is quite small but has products like tropical fruits, imported cheese, sausages, hard-to-find spices, fresh seafood like red snapper, and grains like basmati rice. Prices are higher than regular markets but reasonable enough for the quality.
Daily 5am-7pm. 17 Shunyuan Street, Chaoyang District (6461 3917) 朝阳区顺源街17号
Wangjing Comprehensive Market 望京街道综合菜市场
Now the biggest market in Wangjing, this market combines the former Nanhu Market and another open-air market nearby. From kimchi to Korean coffee, this is the place to buy Korean products.
Daily 7am-6pm. Intersection of Hongchang Lu and Hongtai Xilu (exit A of Wangjing Station), Chaoyang District (5127 6265) 朝阳区望京宏昌路与宏泰西街交叉处（地铁望京站A口）
Xinfadi Wholesale Market 北京新发地农产品批发市场
Located in Fengtai District, Xinfadi is the biggest wholesale food market in the city and one of the key fruit and vegetable trading centers in Beijing. The 24-hour market hosts about 5,000 stalls and is not a place for quick shopping. The market is big enough to be divided into areas that sell specific products, such as mushrooms and bananas.
Daily 24 hours. Nanyuan Xilu, west of Xinfadi Bridge on the Jingkai Expressway, Fengtai District (8372 2689) 丰台区京开高速公路花乡新发地桥西侧
A Few Updates
Beijing’s small markets are an endangered species, so enjoy them while you still can. For instance, both Taiyangong Market and the popular Dongjiao Market on Dawanglu closed recently. Many vendors from the latter have moved to Shuangqiao Market further east, near the border of Chaoyang District and Tongzhou.
Photo by DPerstin (Flickr)