Friday, 6 April 2012

Sanyuanli Fresh Market

my favorite market stall at Sanyuanli no 101
It is one of the best fresh markets in Beijing - quality and cleanness wise. From the main street - you will see a big sign in roman letters "Sanyuanli" over the entrance. The market stretches in one long corridor. It starts with the fruit section. Then some stalls selling tea on the left.

Chinese tea at the market

On the right you can buy some yummy fresh pastry and bread, Chinese style. It smells so good! Further on, you will find some shops selling can food, special spices and sauces in bottles, and then small household items.

In the middle section, you might not want to look too close. This is the wet section. This is why these markets are also called wet markets. There are a few butchers that cut entire veal legs on wooden blocks - right in front of you. They have cheep heads on display and all other parts of animals that are eatable - Chinese way. There is also all kind of seafood on ice. Or it still swims in containers. The ice melts slowly, and drips on the market hall floor. You do not want your pants dipping in the puddles of the wet middle section.

When you made it through the middle section - that is indeed interesting and serves for great photo shoots - you will be in the third and last section selling all vegetables you can think of. They even have those veggies usually not available at Jenny Lou or even Carrefour, not in large quantities though and slightly higher in price.

I have chosen my vegetable stall some years ago by looking at the vendors face - their products are mainly the same, so the quality and the price.  So it was the vendors smile and her stall no. 101 that I thought makes the difference.

Now, I was shopping here again at Sanyuanli, after 3 1/2 years of absence. And guess what? All the vendors I used to buy from, recognised me!

They smiled and waved and greeted. I was very touched! My veggie lady was very happy (see her smile above 1st pic) and the fruit vendor sprang up from his seat and gave my and my friends 3 big red strawberries to taste. They were very sweet and tasty indeed. Not like the other Chinese strawberries that are pale pink and even green from the outside, and white from the inside, and tasting like sugar water - because these strawberries during their growth were injected with sugar water.

fruit section at Sanyuanli market

Sanyuanli is my favourite market. Shopping their is fun. Vendors are friendly and beside the floor of the wet section, that is probably not dirty, but just wet, it is very clean. Prices are up in comparison to my last stay, but no wonder with the yuan being up 10% every year!

Sanyuanli Market (三源里市)
Shunyuan Jie, Chaoyang District (朝阳区东三环顺源街), North of Sanlitun
Open: daily 5am – 7pm

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A Rap Song for Beijing

Jason Chu, a hip-hop artist from the US, had been living in Beijing for the last two years. He had been working, learning, and taking in the language and culture. Now, Jason is returning home and his latest rap song is a farewell letter to Beijing.

I am glad he sent me an email to share his video, saying the following:
"... As many expats know, leaving this country brings with it a mixture of emotions - everything from relief to a bittersweet sense of loss. As I reflect on this departure, I’ve been writing songs that talk about life here: both “the expat experience” and the local lives that I’ve come into contact with

This past weekend, I filmed and uploaded a music video for a song called City of the North, a letter to this city in all its difficulty, challenge, and unexpected beauty. It showcases the faces and lives that intersect in this explosion of culture: the students, migrant workers, expats, laobaixing, and more.

The song is the first track off the EP Goodbye, Beijing. that will be releasing on 4/21 at There will also be a release party/music video screening/farewell concert in Beijing's 798 art district. If you happen to be in town, or you have any friends or acquaintances who will be, you're definitely all invited to the event. (For more info, please contact

My music and thoughts on ABC (editor: American born Chinese) identity in China have been covered in the China Daily and on MSNBC."
I am featuring his music video, because I like it. It is something new to catch a glimpse of Beijing in a rap song! And Jason Chu is a special hip hop artist - follow the links to China Daily and on MSNBC and you will learn why. Also, I enjoyed recognising areas around Sanlitun (and very blue skies!) in his video, listening to the lyrics (the Lost Laowai printed them), and hearing a classic Chinese bow instrument embedded in a rap song. 

Thank you Jason, for sharing! Looking forward to the other songs! Good luck and safe journey home!

PS: Actually, the article over at MSNBC - "Not Chinese enough in China? Chinese-Americans caught between 2 worlds" - is a very interesting subject and worth a separate post.



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