Sunday, April 05, 2009

Beijing Guan Yuan Hua Niao Yu Chong Shi Chang (Beijing Flower Bird Fish and Bug Market)

This must be one of Beijing’s few remaining authentic cultural experiences for a tourist to visit. For that reason we ask that tourists simply visit and enjoy the experience of seeing hutong dwellers going about their daily lives in this market, rather than challenge these friendly people with cameras. A wander through this market and saying ‘hello’ to both buyers and sellers is a warm way of stepping into a Beijinger’s traditional way of shopping.

Bird Fish and Bug market ambience

There are many varieties of pets (especially birds) for Beijing’s local and foreign residents to buy. Whether a tourist or a resident visitors will find themselves ‘ooohing and aaahing’ over many cute and adorable animals on display. Perhaps the scorpions are not so cute, but they certainly do fascinate.
Scorpions
Anyone wanting to buy an easy-to-fly kite could do no better than visit some of the indoor stalls selling kites and their associated equipment at very reasonable prices. If buying a larger kite be sure to buy a quality reel that will not damage your hands and fingers when quickly reeling in the string. Some designs may grate the knuckles when operating the reel quickly and under pressure. Consider paying a little more for a reel with nothing protruding from the outside of the reel to scrape skin off hands and knuckles.

Kites and equipment
Traditional Beijing shoes can be found at a couple of the outdoor stalls. Handmade cloth and leather shoes are available at bargain prices. The asking price for a pair of cloth shoes starts at around 50RMB. Shoe sellers
Wander a little further along the ally and find local residents selling old trinkets and ornaments to make a few extra yuan. Items like a laughing Buddha, old coins, sculptured metal oxen (a great souvenir from the year of the ox), bone hair combs and porcelain figures were recently on sale.


Love birds
Access
To access Guan Yuan Shi Chang by subway, take the train to Fuchengmen subway station, exit B and turn 180 degrees to walk north along Fuchengmen Beidajie, on the east side of the west 2nd Ring Road. The market is a 5 to 10 minute walk either along the street or through the linear park.
As you enter or exit the subway via Exit B at Fuchengmen you will notice a large and very interesting restaurant called a “noshery”. Take time out to try some of Beijing’s local baking and cooking. This is a popular restaurant with both the locals and visitors.