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Located just to the east of the north end of the Wangfujing Pedestrian Street, Beijing Music Bookstore has an amazing selection of music disks and related items from all over the world. Here you can find almost all the famous music albums:classical, country, rock, pop, you name it, and they have it.

The singers' or composers' names are in Chinese, of course, but names are transliterated, though not always in English. You can also find English names on labels above.

The price cost is around RMB 60 for one-CD album, depending on the artist. Though the shop assistants do not speak English, the labels should help you get to where you need to go.

What I appreciate

A large selection of music albums

What customers appreciate

A large selection of music albums

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Beijing pictures, Entrance-Wangfujing Snack Street

The most famous shopping street-Wangfujing is named after a well. This well is located in a street near Wangfujing Street-Wangfujing Snack Street.

 

Wangfujing the Well-Named

The origin of the name Wanfujing comes from the 4-meter deep well which you can see near the entrance of Wangfujing Snack Street. It was dug during the Ming Dynasty, and called Wangfujing. The word ‘jing’ means ‘well’ in Chinese.

 

Wangfujing Snack Street

Wangfujing Street is famous not only for shopping, but also for its snacks. 
 

The section where snack food is served is named Wangfujing Snack Street, and it is located in the north of Wangfujing Street. You enter this side street on the west side of Wangfujing.

  

Approaching the Snack Street

The entrance of Wangfujing Snack Street is a big doorway designed in the traditional Chinese style with dragons. The top of the gate bears 6 golden Chinese characters which tell the name of the street.

 

 

The Snacks

Most vendors on Wangfujing Snack Street can speak a little English, as there are so many foreigners visiting.

 

The snacks are served as take-away only. You can either eat right then and there, or ask for a bag and take the food with you.

 

There are different kinds of traditional snacks. Some I have tasted; some are so weird I never heard of them before this trip to the Street.

 

Tanghulu

One of the vendors sells tanghulu, which is a sweet taste snack. The chef puts some fruit on a skewer, and covers the fruit with melt sugar. When the sugar crystallizes, it turns transparent. It makes the tanghulu look nice.

 

The traditional tanghulu is made of hawthorn. Nowadays, people also use grapes, plums, strawberries, and blackberries to make it.

 

The vendor told me lots of foreigners try tanghulu. Their favorite kind is made with strawberries.

 

The tanghulu is priced RMB 3-5, depending on which fruit it is made of.

 

Smelly toufu

Personally, I love smelly toufu. Although it smells, it tastes really nice. I like the texture of fried toufu, and the special spicy source they put onto it.

 

For RMB 3, you can get a small plastic bowl filled with 6-8 pieces of smelly toufu. One piece is a 2-inch long square. The vendor will also give you a toothpick, so that you can stick the toothpick into one of the pieces, and put it into your mouth.

 

Skewers

There are all kinds of skewers: beef, lamb, chicken, chicken heart, pork, etc. It costs RMB 3 for a small skewer, and RMB 5 for a big one.

 

I even saw skewers of scorpions today. There are 4 scorpions on one skewer, sold  for RMB 15. The scorpions are alive before they are cooked. The chef scared me with the living scorpions when we were talking and kidding. He tried to persuade me to eat one but failed miserably.

 

Another weird animal on skewer is cicada (RMB 6). I still haven’t dared to try it out.

 

Coconuts

Vendors selling coconuts are really friendly. After I bought a coconut, they taught me how to open it and drink it, and how to eat the flesh inside as well. Coconuts cost RMB 10 each. They are much cheaper than those sold in supermarkets.

 

Besides these snacks, you can also find sweet corn (RMB 4), squid (RMB 5), Hongkong-styled beef ball (RMB 5) and Turkey-styled kebab (RMB 5) on this street.

 

Sun Glasses

After this snack feat, I walked towards the end of the street, and found a peddler selling sunglasses. The glasses are badly made, but really cheap. Don’t look for a price tag, there are none. I picked one, and asked for the price. The peddler started at RMB 40, but after bargaining came down to RMB 25. If you care to buy a pair of cheap sunglasses, make an effort at bargaining.

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The silk capital of China is Suzhou, though some dispute this statement and say it is Hangzhou. Yet you can still buy silk in other cities, and Beijing is no exception with many silk shops. Some carry cheap merchandise, some sell expensive products. Which one should you choose?

 

A Cheap Silk Shop

Today, after I got out of Sundong’an Shopping Mall, I was attracted by this silk shop on the left-hand side of Wangfujing Street. It wasn’t hard to notice the shop: a fellow at the entrance was holding a bullhorn, touting the silk shop to passerbys.

 

The big sign on the shop facade reads ‘Zhen Si Xi Lie Zhuan Mai’. In English: ‘We sell pure silk only’. I noted two signs under the big one. One read: ‘silk from the city of Hangzhou’. The other read: ‘half price’.

 

Free Gift

There were many people queuing outside the entrance. When I asked the reason to the shop assistant, I was replied they were giving freebies — cheap silk scarves — to people. Everybody could go in and ask for a gift, not just customers.

 

There is no free lunch, and no retailer gives a freebie without a reason. The shop asked people to fill out a questionnaire.

 

No Pure Silk

So I walked in. There I found that the shop carries very few items made of pure silk.

 

There were two piles of silk scarves near the front door. In one of them, the scarves were priced RMB 10 each. In the other, they cost RMB 100 each.

 

I checked the quality by feeling the silk, and found those selling for RMB 10 were not real silk. I read the tag on one of them: 15% silk. A look at the tag on the expensive scarves taught me these were 100% pure silk.

 

Discounts

The shop discounts its entire inventory. Prices of silk pajamas were discounted from RMB 228 to RMB 60, silk pants from RMB 198 to RMB 60, silk tops from RMB 60 to RMB 20.

 

None of these so-called silk items were made of pure silk, which is why they were so cheap.

 

Ruifuxiang, Silk and Cotton

After I walked out of ‘Zhen Si Xi Lie Zhuan Mai’, another silk shop caught my eye. Its name, Ruifuxiang, is somewhat famous.

 

Ruifuxiang’s inventory of silk material is enormous. Some of the items are from Hangzhou, some from Suzhou.

 

I looked, felt and checked the tags: all merchandise is 100% silk. Prices here are much higher than in the other silk shops.

 

One meter of 70-cm wide silk material costs RMB 59. One meter of 140-cm wide silk material is RMB 128. The washable heavy silk sold in 140 cm width is even more expensive, at RMB 138 per meter.

 

Make Your Own

The shop offers tailoring services. The craftman officiating there can make different kinds of clothes. The cost is RMB 350 for a Qipao (traditional Chinese lady dress), RMB 100 for a shirt, and RMB 500-800 for a suit.

 

I checked the magazines and books he showed me. So many different designs! If you want a unique and special dress, it is a good idea to let a tailor take your measurements, and make your clothes.

 

By the way, the cost of the tailor’s work does not include the material. According to the tailor, a Size 8 Qipao dress would require 3.2 meters of 70-cm wide material or 1.8 meters of 110-cm wide. This means about RMB 500 for the dress, labor and material included.

 

Other Silk Stuff

I saw other silk items in this shop, all made of pure silk. I noted some of the prices for you: silk ties were priced at RMB 128, silk scarves would sell for RMB 198-298, and silk dressing gowns were going for RMB 360-500.


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Beijing Shopping: Located just to the east of the north end of the Wangfujing Pedestrian Street, Beijing Music Bookstore has an amazing selection of music disks and related items from all over the world. Here you can ...