If you’re biking around between Xihai and Houhai and food attracts you,  chances are you’ll find your way to Run De Li market by accident. Last September, I was biking after class and started to see a few vegetables here and there, being sold off carts, trucks full of sweet potatoes. Then there were a few dry goods shops. Then a pork butcher or two, and then the market gate. Vendors spill out, alley veins leading to the market’s heart. 

The first time I came, I bought a sunflower head, with petals still attached and covered with seeds. Then again on Christmas Day, for a freshly-killed chicken, including head.

 This market shows how Beijing’s old town’s small size hides certain vast distances. This market isn’t far from Houhai, which is full of partying foreigners, but here, on the other side of the lake, a non-Chinese person will be noticed. Treated well, but noticed, and talked about, especially if you step into the little “snack town” or 小吃城 for a bowl of hand-pulled noodles.

Inside you’ll find a man making noodle magic.  (He didn’t want me to photograph him at work, but you can see the process here). He made me this:

This is egg-and-tomato topped noodles, or 西红柿鸡蛋拉面。 The secret of this dish is that the tomatoes should be sweet and the eggs salty; this one fit the bill and the noodles were some of the best I’ve had in Beijing.

Outside, you can stock up on vegetables and pantry essentials.  Actually, at this market, unlike the Xiao Xi Tian market, you can buy everything you need, from furniture & shoes…

 

To beautiful fruits and vegetables. This isn’t a “local food” type deal – they definitely aren’t growing sugarcane in Beijing.

But I still feel like this market is a healthy places. The market knows seasons. Produce is fresh. Meat is expensive and there isn’t much of it, and vegetables are cheap. You can chat with the vendors.

I love a place where you can buy everything you need. A modern supermarket really has nothing on this.


Run De Li Market/润得立蔬菜市场

Off Deshengmen Nei Dajie/德胜门内大街

Baidu Map

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