Written by Daniel Crane & Lisa Xu, photos by Lisa Xu
Wangfujing is close to the city centre, not too far from Tiananmen Square. Wangfujing is easily accessible by taking the subway (Line 1) to Wangfujing station and is roughly a five-minute walk from the station.
The first thing you will notice is a very wide street. This is how you will know you are in Wangfujing. On both sides, there are different kinds of malls and with recognisable brands like H&M, Zara, and Adidas, to name a few. There are also lots of places to eat along this street and it caters to everyone so you will find Chinese food as well as popular fast food chains like McDonald’s and KFC. If you go into the malls you will also find a variety of restaurants so you really are spoilt for choice.
If you’re looking for souvenirs, there are some stores along this street full of interesting trinkets and knickknacks you can get for a reasonable price. Another store that I often visit is the Beijing foreign language bookstore. Majority of books here are written in English and they have a very wide selection of books. The books vary in price but I have found most of them to be fairly priced.
My favourite part of Wangfujing however, is the street market. I have been here for more than one occasion and this is how imagined China would be before I came here.
The market is along a long narrow street, but it is not so small that you feel claustrophobic. It is normally fairly busy but it’s not overwhelming. Tip: the street market opens at 11 a.m. so go early to avoid the afternoon crowds.
On both sides of the street, there are many vendors selling all sorts of food from their open-concept stalls. From traditional snacks to Western eats like waffle ice cream cones to bugs on a stick, you’ll find all of that and more.
I am absolutely terrified of spiders so there is no way I could even get close to them and I don’t think my body would physically let me put a scorpion in my mouth, however if you are an adventurous kind of person (or just a little bit mad) then you have the option to try these. The food down here is cheap as well ranging from about 10¥-40¥.
The more expensive things are the Western foods like waffle ice cream and parfaits, however, I would suggest avoiding these kinds of foods since, fair warning, what you see is not always what you get. You will not be able to get a refund in these places either so your money would be better spent in a mall where you can get better quality food for the same price.
There are also a couple of small restaurants dotted around this street market and they again are cheap and the quality of the foods is decent. Myself and Lisa visited one of these traditional restaurants just outside the street market (next to one of the entrances), called 护国寺 (Hu Guo Si) and we managed to get a meal and some traditional Chinese desserts for under 40¥. The other restaurants are roughly the same price and they all sell very similar dishes so it doesn’t matter which one you go into quite honestly.
In addition to food, you will also find a few stores where you can buy souvenirs and cheap accessories like hats and sunglasses.
Wangfujing is a place where the traditional and the modern exist side by side, which is often found in Beijing. From the interesting stores and plentiful malls to the lively street market, it really gives you the full shopping and dining experience. I would definitely recommend visiting Wangfujing if you decide to come to China and you are in Beijing.
I will end each blog with a quote that I like and I hope that you will too, so here goes. Stay tuned till next week.
Hey! My name is Daniel Crane, I am 20 years old and I am from the UK. I decided to come to China for a number of reasons. Firstly I have decided to start traveling the world and I hope to visit as many countries as I can and experience as many different cultures as possible. I thought China would be a pretty cool way of starting me off. I also came here to better myself and change some things about myself that I feel need improvement. I will be here for 6 months in total living with a host family, attending a university to learn Mandarin and exploring China(my favourite part). I came to China 3 months ago as an Au pair with the amazing company Auparia. I have decided to start documenting my time here by writing about places that I visit, the different kinds of food that I eat, and all about daily life in Beijing so that if you are thinking of coming to China you will have a better idea of what to expect. I will be collaborating with Lisa, a fellow au pair, on this blog.
Hi there! My name is Lisa Xu, and I’m a 20-year-old university student from Toronto, Canada. I’m currently studying journalism and linguistics in Ottawa. I was born in China and moved to Canada with my family when I was seven. I would say I’m trilingual, though that’s being pretty generous. I grew up with protective parents so I didn’t really get to travel much, but my biggest dream is to travel around the world. Since I also enjoy working with kids, being an au pair seemed like getting the best of both worlds. I haven’t been back to China in 13 years so it’s definitely a challenge, but also exciting! When I’m not with the host family, I’m usually out and about, eating my way around the city, hanging out with other au pairs, and generally getting lost.