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Feb 9, 2012 02:15 AM

Beijing-- where to live?

If food shopping is the only criterion for choosing where you live, what neighborhood would you live in?

I'm contemplating moving to Beijing, cooking is very important to me, so shopping only in foreign grocery stores won't work, I'll need soulful local markets with seasonal produce. If there's an area with a high concentration of organic produce (yes, I'm dreaming big), that would be fantastic.

Thanks for any input!

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  1. This will depend upon your definition of organic-- a genuine point of interest for groceries in Beijing at the moment.

    For the better choices, look for communities that aren't very new but are between 4th & 5th Ring Road. I would suggest North of 4th, but that's just because I'm more familiar with those areas.

    What kind of housing are you considering? Yuppie Gilded Chinese modern apts? Russian-style old Chinese apts? Expat-focused "villas"? "Returning Chinese" "villas"? Many of the newer places are pretty isolated in terms of community resources and don't have good local markets.

    What do you think of CarreFour?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Kris in Beijing

      Thank you Kris!
      I was originally thinking to stay close to Sanlitun, because that's where my guy lives, but it's super expensive and so far I've only seen soulless small supermarkets.
      "definition of organic" Ha! I forgot that it's all flexible here! I mean non-GMO food produced without pesticides or chemical fertilizers. If organic is a genuine point of interest for groceries in Beijing, it shouldn't be too far for me to find. I never shopped at Carrefour in France, because the markets and local organic stores are just so much better, but if that's my only option for organic food I can trust here, then I'm not at all above it.

      1. re: kerosundae

        Look into the NanShiLiJu area just outside of 4th.
        Some, um, "vintage" and "heritage" apartment buildings that you'll only be able to get into with good Chinese and a tolerance for things that "can't be fixed."

        Not to be confused with the subway stop on Line 1 Nanlishilu to the west !!

    2. Hi, I lived in Sanlitun 3 years ago. There are (or were) a couple of markets in the area.
      A covered market at TuanJieHu, east of the 3rd ring rd, a block or 2 south of the Chaoyang Golf Club.
      A covered market at SanYuanLi, just north of the Embassy area. This place had a good mix of regular stuff and imported goodies for expats/diplomats and local restaurants.
      Seasonal produce is available from street vendors all over Beijing.
      People were beginning to start organic hobby farms out in the rural areas around the city when I lived there. Otherwise, Sanlitun is probably a good bet for organics due to the high density of "yuppies" and foreigners

      1 Reply
      1. re: BenjaminHam

        thank you BenjaminHam!
        I ended up moving into a place around Guomao. there's a market not too far me woohoo!