Chinese New Year is coming closer and as it is a tradition in China to wear new clothes, to eat from new plates and in general to buy a new version of almost everything to celebrate the Chinese New Year with your friends and family, we decided to make a nice trip to Li Cun, a country fair in Qingdao which sells everything you can imagine.
We met in the morning to start our journey to Li Cun, a really interesting part of north Qingdao, an area where I have never been before. After a 30 minute bus ride we got off and we were immediately dragged into the crowded market action. Even though it wasn’t the original market, the path from our bus stop to the market was covered with blankets, where Chinese people sold socks and plates basically whatever could be useful for Chinese new year. The whole area was fully packed with people.
We were glad that when we got off the bus we had followed a group who led us to the market “entrance”. The entrance was a set of stairs that looked as if they would lead into an old barn instead of the opening to one of the biggest markets in Qingdao.
And then we started our tour to discover what the market has to offer. We started in the coldest part of the market; the area where they sold delicious fish, mussels, almost everything that comes straight from the ocean. They were placed on thick layers of ice to keep everything fresh.
We continued with what I guessed to be the hardest part of the market for all of us, the meat area. We made our way from stalls that sold familiar looking meat fillets and the animals internal organs such as intestines and stomach to the stalls who were selling pig heads, whole sheep or even donkey legs. Even though it was kind of creepy to walk through all of these stalls packed with meat, it was a great experience and it was lots of fun to see who “suffers” the most whilst walking through this area.
Straight after this section we were rewarded with the lovely smell of tons of aromatic and colourful herbs and spices.
As we continued our walk through blankets, shoes, clothes, pans and table wear to the section where the fu tie福贴, the red papers that have the Chinese Character for “Fortune” written on, were sold. In Chinese culture, fu means good fortune. It is tradition to place the fu tie on the door as Chinese people believe that it attracts some good fortune for the family in the coming new year.
Afterwards we passed stalls where they produced sesame paste and oil; which was definitely one of my favourites, as I have never seen this before. We had a glimpse at people doing Chinese calligraphy and ended our market tour in a huge area where you could buy the cutest little pet fishes and birds I have ever seen.
And even though no one of us bought anything, as the variety of different things to discover kept us distracted we had a great time and it was so much fun to roam through the market action together!
Apply for an internship now to experience what other markets China has to offer.