Sanyuanli Market

16 Jan

Wanting to show my Mum and Aunt a Beijing style “wet market” while they visited Beijing we went to Sanyuanli market, in Chaoyang district. I’d never been before so it was a new experience for the three of us. Walking in we were greeted with an array of colours, shapes and sizes of gorgeous glossy fruits. Considering Beijing is in the middle of a cold winter, the cherries, mangoes and pineapples were obviously imported, but the big juicy red strawberries and mandarins were from China we were told. Storekeepers spoke alright English, used to expats coming to their stalls looking for a taste of home.

Halal beef and lamb stores had carcasses hanging from hooks, and would cut off whatever slice a customer wanted. I chose a nice looking lean piece of meat for them to mince so I could stock my freezer with mince in case I have an urge for spaghetti bolognaise soon!

I also bought a good/smelly piece of parmesan from one of the deli stores that supplies imported products including marshmallows, pasta, foreign oils and even Maldon sea salt. Pork butchers had pigs ears, tails and trotters, as well as delicious looking belly meat. They also make their own sausages – hundreds of Chinese-style salami hung at the sides and backs of stores. Chicken stalls had every type of chicken cut you could want – from heads to feet, necks to breasts and whole black and regular pink chickens, which could be cut up by the sellers if requested.

Vegetable stalls sell everything from basil, mint and parsley (herbs I couldn’t find in my local Wu-Mei) as well as avocadoes (my first sighting in Beijing!!) to gorgeous yellow mini capsicums, purple, orange and white sweet potatoes and long okra. One shop only sold mushrooms, and there must have been around 10 or more varieties. There’s also a seafood section selling huge pieces of salmon, live fish, shellfish, crustaceans…the list goes on. I was in culinary heaven, and salivating at the thought of what I could make with all this produce. In Beijing, chefs, barstaff and regulars come to this market to stock up on produce, so I knew it was good stuff, and definitely cheaper than buying from a western supermarket. I’ll be back to stock my freezer and fridge with delicious fruits and vegetables and now know where there’s tasty-looking clean and fresh meat sellers.

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