Beijing Shopping Guide
Other well-known music/video shops along the street include Puluo, featuring imported original classic music DVDs and Xuejun, well-known for its imported European and American rock 'n' roll music CDs.
The south street is a popular place to buy musical instruments. Many stores, though they look quite small, have complete sales lists of various instruments. As the owners of many stores are professional musicians, they usually give useful suggestions to buyers. If you are a beginner, they will patiently introduce different parts of the instrument and even teach you to play for a while.
For those who love food, the street's crossroads is a must. There are various small restaurants providing local foods from many parts of the country, such as barbecue, Sichuan noodles of Dandanmian, and Xi'an steamed bun dipped mutton soup. Western snack stops like DQ ice cream and McDonalds are also nearby.
Hidden among the skewered and fried carnage of Wangfujing Snack Street, the tiny Xiaozhang Mud Man store still manages to draw lots of customers with its interesting and authentic folk toys.
The special of the house are clay figures, translated literally as mud men. Many of these figures represent old Beijing culture, from courtyard houses to Manchu maidens, Peking Opera masks to scenes from life in the capital many years ago. The pieces are designed and made by native Beijinger Zhang Yujun, a passionate preserver of customs nearly forgotten in this city.
The store is filled with mud men, ranging from the size of a finger to half-a-meter tall, portraying go players, cross talk performers, crowds watching cricket fights and roving vendors and cost a mere 20 to 50 yuan per piece. Among the most popular are figurines of children playing, sleeping, laughing or doing other kid things in late Qing dynasty garb, which
go for 20 yuan each.
The walls also showcase kites, drums, fans and other old Beijing folk items priced from 15 to 100 yuan.
Zhang's mud men can also be found in some local shopping centers, such as the Hongqiao Market, but prices are lower and the atmosphere is better at his own little store.
Loacation: No. 227 Wangfujing Street at the east entrance to Wangfujing Snack Street, Dongcheng.
Open time: 9 am - 9 pm
Fuzhuang Jiaoyi Shichang or Beijing Lady Street Dressing Plaza, as it calls itself in English, is situated underneath Laitai Flower Market on Nuren Jie. As the name implies, the target market of the Plaza is female, although there are some men's shirts and "brand name" underwear dotted about. Entry down the stairs leads to the first mezzanine level consisting of beauty parlours and accessory shops. Manicures and pedicures are also available at around 30 yuan (US$3.8) a go.
Down the escalators and row after row of stalls offer quite a wide variety of clothing, which makes a change from certain markets with stall upon stall of the same wares. As such you won't be hassled by the hard sell here and are free to roam without interference. Bear in mind though that if it's "brand names" you are after then this is not the place, as "North Face" and "D&G" are pushed aside for frills, sequins and brocade, so the market seems to be geared toward local women and not expats. It is a good place to pick up women's underwear, with the north corridor devoted mainly to bras and panties with odd messages emblazoned on them such as "vote" or "If you want mejust ask."
The market is unlikely to be your main reason to go to Nuren Jie, but a walk around the stalls can be combined with a trip to the flower market and some cheap eats in the sun.
Location: Beijing Lady Street Dressing Plaza, Nuren Jie off Tianze Lu, A 1, 9 Maizidian Xijie,
Opening time: Daily 10 am - 8 pm
How to get there: Bus routes: 6, 57, 659, 707 and 752
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