Preps for Chinese New Year & Illegal Selling in China

We‘re getting closer – the much anticipated Chinese New Year is moving closer and everybody is gettin ready – for example by buying as many fireworks as they can possibly get. It‘s actually one of the few events that are supposed to be really exiting in China – and the one I‘m gonna miss out on.

So to make up for that I wanna show you a pic of one of the stores which is selling fireworks. And as large as it looks – yesterday it wasn‘t even there, yet!

Selling Fireworks

Illegal street selling is a really popular thing in China. You could watch those guys building their things (usually only a blanket, trailer or bike) up in the morning and leaving in the evening – and they do that everyday! Usually of course with much simpler goods and less preparation. Some of the most favored goods to sell are very simple foods like apples, mandarines, shelled peanuts, nuts in general, grilled sweet potatoes, roots (no idea which kind but I think you can eat them) or strawberries. But sometimes they‘d get all fancy and also sell pots, clothing or music.

Now I do have to admit while most of the things you can also get in normal stores at least in Taiyuan sweet potatoes (红薯)are exclusively street food – and when the craving hits you you gotta hunt down one of those sweet (potato) guys. But how you‘re supposed to do that?

Well, here‘re some simple rules to stick to if you wanna find one:

  1. Go to a very public place – best a huge street crossing – and start looking around. If you can see one there, lucky you.
  2. But usually (since it‘s illegal) they‘d not directly stand there. But they know you‘ll be searching for them there so they‘ll be somewhere close. Start looking for side-alleys, walk down the street or watch other people with your desired good magically in their hands even though no official store is close.
  3. Use your nose in case of cooked goods. For real, sometimes I‘d run around sniffing in order to find them. Only works for a certain distance, though, but in order to find people who have already purchased your desired good (see point 2) this might also work.
  4. Advanced: Know their moving patterns and favorite places. By know I know approximately 3 places close to my house where I‘d always find at least one seller. But this requires you to live there, as a tourist the effort might not be worth it.

Oh, and for the illegal: I‘ve only seen the police once acting on this and that was in Beijng with about 20 sellers gathering at one place so feel safe to get you some street goods 🙂

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1 comment
  1. Hope you survived the 2 weeks of fireworks madness and had a great and loud start into the Year of the Snake! Regards from Beijing!

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