It’s not a proper vacation to Beijing until you’ve experienced old and new world shopping unique only to this city. I’m talking about making time to visit the boutiques and cafes of Nanluoguxiang Hutong and the edgy and exciting retail experience found at Sanlitun Village.
Nanluoguxiang was built during the Yuan Dynasty in the 1700’s, and today is still home to many of Beijing’s residents. This hutong is also a popular venue for those who are looking for the quirky gift or unique fashion find that are design-oriented pieces original to the artists and craftsmen based in the city. Check out these cheeky porcelain figures.
… Or these funny postcards. Most of them are in “Engrish” (Chinese-English), but you get the general gist of the message.
Shops sell everything from authentic shoes worn by Beijing people for hundreds of years…
…To propaganda shirts which remix historic Chinese images to create new messages and designs that give their product that “contemporary art” edge.
There were so many lanes which branched out of the main street. It would take a whole day to visit all of them.
With so much to see, it’s easy to get a bit tired. That’s why it’s always good to take a rest and to have a sip of some hot Chinese Tea or coffee at one of the many establishments in the Hutong made for visitors and tourists. These cafes have plenty of character and allows one to recharge before continuing their shopping journey.
For lunch we had some “Dan Dan Min (Hot and Spicy Noodles)” at another local eatery, Red Ding Coffee.
They had a beautiful courtyard.
But for street food… you can opt for steamy yams.
Or Caramelized Fruits on a stick. This was divine.
This dessert is called Tanghulu and it’s a Beijing original. I had figs.
Other fashion finds for me include these original (read “real) Feiyue shoes for about 130RMB (18-20USD).
And this fashionable gentleman.
Across town it’s all about modern indoor-outdoor shopping experiences with Sanlitun Village.
Criss crossing glass planes, diagonal pathways, and a LED lights define this new shopping environment.
Every corner is a different discovery.
From Home furnishings…
To current fashion trends… it’s all here.
Vying for your attention.
New or old…
… There’s something in Beijing for every stylish individual, like this gent I spotted at Sanlitun Village.
Or this gent at Nanluoxguxiang who was channeling a young Woody Allen.
Also spotted… Fashion Blogger, Vanessa Hong at Sanlitun Village. Love the quilted jacket and ripped jean denim.
We hung out with Vincent from VICE Magazine China.
I’ll miss all this. Thank you Hilton Hotels & Resorts for such a wonderful and memorable trip!
This post was originally published on November 24, 2012 for CNN.com and Hilton Hotels and Resorts for the CNNGO Experience Asia Contest.