Shopping in Chongqing

Although Chongqing Municipality is not as modern as Beijing or Shanghai, it still provides a superior shopping environment for locals and tourists alike. Rich in natural resources, Chongqing produces a great variety of local and special products including valuable traditional Chinese medicinal herbs and famous fruit, such as pears, navel oranges, pomeloes, and persimmons. Chongqing is noted for fine quality tea as well – among the most widely known are Chongqing Tuo Tea, Yinping Silver Needle Tea and Xinong Fur Tip Tea.

Folk culture and traditional Chinese art compliment the modern offerings of Chongqing. Since the Southern Song Dynasty, Shu embroideries have been cited as one of the most famous embroideries in China and Chongqing’s elaborate folding paper fans have been exported to foreign countries since the Qing Dynasty. The many various kinds of bamboo articles, brocade of Tujia minority and ink slabs from the Three Gorges also reflect the flavor of the local culture.

Today, Jiefangbei is the central business district of the urban city and the center of economic development of Chongqing Municipality. The Jiefangbei commercial Pedestrian Street centers this well-known shopping area. Clusters of modern shopping malls and exclusive shops line the roadsides. Banks, theatres, KTV clubs, bookstores, hotels, bars and pubs are also quite easy to find. Some of the main buildings worth seeing include Chongqing Department Store, New Century Department Store, Commercial Mansion, Friendship Shopping Center, Carrefour Supermarket and New Oriental Women Plaza.

Chaotianmen Market, located on East Jiefang Road, is the biggest market in Chongqing and very popular amongst locals and foreigners, where everything and anything can be found. Some of the items include; plastic ware, Christmas decoration, toys, souvenirs, teapots, shoes, handbags, candles and everyday knickknacks. Bargaining is expected.

Dealing primarily in Garment wholesale, it is reported that goods traded in the market come from or are sold to more than 200 counties in Sichuan, Hubei and Hunan provinces. Shoppers can expect to find stylish clothes at very reasonable prices. Still, bargaining with the vendors in most stalls and shops will ensure a great deal!

Nan Bin Road, located on the south bank of Yangtze River,  boasts a newly opened flower market that has become a leisure hotspot for locals and tourists. Over 100 flower shops, handicrafts stores and tea houses line both sides of the street. Flower houses in European and traditional Chinese styles provide a picturesque setting for enjoying the vibrant colors and scents of the merchants’ offerings that await you. In addition to the various kinds of blossoms, you can also find many delicate potted plants. Located at the entrance of Huang Ge Du Park, Nan Bin Flower Market is a great place to unwind day or night.

Jiang Bei district, an emerging CBD located on the north bank of Jialing River, is developing into a very modern and prosperous business center for local people. There are many upmarket shops and restaurants in Jiang Bei, along with most luxury housing complexes catering for high income groups of Chongqing city. It is said that Jiang Bei district will become the major part of the city in all areas in the future.

- Some major markets / shops -

Antique Market

A market situated in a multi-storey building selling all kinds of ‘antiques’ (most are reproductions) and knickknacks: Chinese furniture, wooden carvings, ceramics, teapots, old Chinese books, stamps, Mao statues etc. The best days to attend are Saturday and Sunday, but try to get there in the morning as many vendors start packing up by mid-afternoon. Bargaining is an absolute must, as most vendors will charge ridiculous prices.

Add: Zhongxin Road

Chaotianmen Material & Haberdashery Market

If it’s material you’re after, then this is the place to visit. All sorts of fabrics and colours at very good prices. From men suiting material, to denim, linen and traditional Chinese silks. Go in the mornings as most vendors tend to pack up at around 1.00 p.m. The fabrics do change with the seasons, in the warmer months you are likely to come across a greater variety of cottons and linen whilst during the colder months, you’ll find more woollen fabrics and corduroys.

Add: Xinhua Road, Yu Zhong District

- Plazas -

Metropolitan Plaza (Da Du Hui)

This glitzy seven-storey plaza hosts around 160 shops, such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Kenzo, Hugo Boss and the like. It also hosts a food court on the 6th floor with various restaurants, from hotpot to Japanese, an ice-skating rink, a cinema and a bowling alley on the 5th floor.

Add: Jiefang Bei Area, in between Harbour Plaza Hotel and Metropolitan Plaza Office Tower

Pacific Plaza Department Store (Tai Ping Yang Bai Huo)

Has a good range of foreign and local labels from shoes to clothing to kitchenware. It’s a little pricier than the other department stores.

Add: located inside Metropolitan Plaza

Chongqing Department Store (Chongqing Bai Huo Dalou)

The largest state-run department store in Chongqing. Now it has many chain stores around the city with the flagship store situated in downtown Jiefangbei.

Add: 2 Min Quan Road, Jie Fang Bei

- Clothing Shops -

Chongqing is swarming with clothing stores. The main ones are:

Giordano (Hong Kong chain)
Jeans West

- Supermarkets -

Carrefour (Jia Le Fu)

Add: New Chongqing Plaza, Mian Hua Street, Yu Zhong District

Metro Jinjiang Cash & Carry (Mai De Long)

Easily reached by taxi, this is Chongqing’s largest supermarket, providing a considerable range of foreign and Chinese products, from food to houseware. A membership card is required and you can apply for it at the counter by the entrance. Plastic bags cost RMB1.

Add: Corner of Dashi Road & Baihe Road, Li Jiao Qiao

Immanuel Foreign Food Store

This husband and wife team stock a large range of foreign food products including breakfast cereals, baking products, salad dressings, preserved foods, spices and more!!! You can either make your way down to the store, or order on line and take advantage of the free delivery.

Add: Ground floor, Building D, Zi Jing Yuan (Garden), Sha Ping Ba

- Traditional Chinese Clothing -

Mr. Li’s Chinese Dress Shop

Add: 101 Zhong Shan Yi Road, Yu Zhong District

Local specialties to buy in Chongqing
As a large metropolis, Chongqing boasts rich natural resources and local specialties, making it a good place to do some shopping.
Herb Medicine and Fruit
Due to the fact that Chongqing is a city surrounded by mountains, there are many rare Chinese traditional herbal medicines in these parts including the rhizome of Chinese goldthread (huanglian), Gastrodia elata (tianma) and the bark of eucommia (duchong). Besides this, the fertile land here is ideal for the fruit growing, such as orange, pear, pomelo and persimmon.
Gastrodia Elata
Mentioning Chinese herbal medicine in Sichuan, one will not fail to recall Gastrodia elata (tianma), which contributes a great deal to patients with eclampsia. Duck braised in Gastrodia elata soup is the most famous medical dish you might encounter when dining in the local restaurants in Chongqing.
Huangsha Pomelo
Huangsha pomelo is probably the most famous fruit in Chongqing. Unlike some other kinds of pomelo, it is unusually succulent and sweet, with a rich fragrance of honey.
Folk Handicraft
Folk handicraft in Chongqing has long been highly appraised. Since the Southern Song Dynasty, Shu Embroidery (also known as Sichuan Embroidery) has been ranked among the four most famous embroidery types in China. The Rongchang paper fan is also a well-known handicraft that has been exported since the Qing dynasty.
Shu Brocade
Shu brocade (also known as Sichuan brocade), soft in feel and flamboyant in color, has a history of over two thousand years, and it is one of the four best and most famous brocades in China along with Nanjing Brocade, Suzhou Brocade and Guangxi Brocade.
Through out such a long history, over several hundred types have evolved and brocade has become an integral part of the ornament of women in the ethnic groups in Southwest of China. However, handmade brocade has given way to modern textile industries and there is only one factory in the city that specializes in making Sichuan Brocade at present.
Rongchang Paper Fan
It is almost 450 years since the first Rongchang paper fan was made. Since then, the fan has enjoyed unique renown domestically and internationally. It is by no means surprising then, that hundreds of years ago the fans were exported to India and Burma.
The past several decades have seen rapid innovation utilizing different materials to make the fan more elegant and the original few have now expanded into 345 different types.
Print Painting
With the rapid economic development, peasants in rural Chongqing have witnessed great improvement in their material wealth. Conceivably they desire more cultural activities in their spare time. It just seems that print painting has become their beloved form of self-cultivation and self-relaxation.
And there is no lack of artistic genius here: for ten years 874 works have been on exhibit in US, Japan, UK, Canada and Italy and over 600 works have become personal collections.
Three Gorge Inkstone
For travelers fascinated by Chinese calligraphy, Three Gorge Inkstone might be the best shopping item in Chongqing. Made from the special stone excavated on the Libi Gorge section of Jialing River, the fine-shaped inkstone is delicately engraved with beautiful patterns.
Chongqing is also a major tea producing area. With a long history of cultivation, Chongqing Tuo Tea, Cuiping Silver Needle Tea and Xinong Maojian Tea enjoy high prestige both at home and abroad.
Gourmets have no right to feel disappointed when traveling in Chongqing: Old Sichuan translucent beef slices, Fuling mustard tuber and Hechuan preserved peach slices are all unusual things to try.

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