Open-air markets are still popular, even in metropolises like Beijing. Locals often shop at open-air markets for fresh food, where prices are low and produce is fresh. You can bargain at the open-air markets but prices are often already very low. Two popular open-air markets in the city include:
Dongjia Market: Known for its wholesale hardware and kitchenware bargains, this market near the CBD area also has a big vegetable, meat, and fish section with low prices. A row of stalls located near this section sell dry goods such as bottled sauces, spices, etc. At least one stall sells imported spices and sauces. Open daily from 8AM-5:30PM. Xidawang Lu (directly south of SOHO New Town), Chaoyang District. Tel: 6744-7864
Sanyuanli Food and Vegetable Market: Conveniently located in the north-east part of the city, Sanyuanli is popular with restaurants who source their food from this meat and vegetable market. Harder to find fruit (Thai limes, Washington apples, star fruit, etc.), cheeses, coffee, and condiments can often be found in one of many stalls in this market. Daily 5am-7pm, Sanyuanli (opposite Jingkelong Supermarket, west of Sanyuan Dongqiao)
Smaller markets can be found in any neighborhood, including outside of the city, with some careful questioning of locals or “ayis” (household helpers) in your neighborhood.