Planning a trip to China soon? Whether you’re visiting for business or pleasure, China has become a shopping haven in recent years. While they used to be famous for their cheap knockoffs of branded goods, the increased standard of living has steered the country into producing top quality products that you’ve got to bring back home.

With so many things that you can buy, it can be a real hassle finding the best souvenirs to bring home. Fret not for we have compiled 15 things you can buy from China and the best provinces where you can find them! 

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Cheongsam

woman in short sleeve chinese red top
Image Credit: Houcine Ncib | Unsplash

The epitome of feminine beauty back in the 1920s, the Cheongsam was a woman’s favourite and most common piece of clothing during the Shanghai Bund era. Cheongsam, in the 21st century, has taken on a modern twist to incorporate unique cuts and blends of fabric while keeping the tradition of hand-sewn designs. Peonies, phoenixes, and other prosperous motifs are commonly sewn on to represent femininity and blessings.

  • Where to buy: Along The Bund, Shanghai
  • Budget: from 700RMB

 

Domestic Makeup Brands

5 lipstick colours
Image Credit: eBay

While K-beauty has taken over the world by storm, domestic beauty brands in China have been gaining much attention as well. Perfect Diary, one of the top local beauty brands in China makes quality products that are priced affordably. Make sure to grab their famous Dreamy Matte Lip Glaze for only S$10.70!

  • Where to buy: Drugstores
  • Budget: 55RMB

 

Seawater and Freshwater Pearls

string of pearl necklace with diamond center in box
Image Credit: Cornelia Ng | Unsplash

China is the largest manufacturer and exporter of pearls, so it only makes sense that you buy some of these back. Do buy them from certified stores to ensure that the pearls are authentic. Also, while freshwater pearls are cheaper, their quality is lowered as compared to seawater pearls. So make the choice that you best prefer!

  • Where to buy: Pearl’s Circles – First Asia Jewelry Plaza, 3rd Floor, 288 Fuyou Lu, Shanghai
  • Budget: from 1000RMB

 

Chinese Snacks

variety of local china snacks
Image Credit: Snack Stop | Flickr

If there’s one thing China is known for, it has got to be their unique yet tasty snacks. From spicy sticks to stinky tofu(as a snack, what?!) and Laoganma(even John Cena approves of this), there is no lack of peculiar snacks in China to try out. Most of them are available at supermarkets which makes it super convenient to snag some back!

  • Where to buy: Local marts
  • Budget: from 10RMB

 

Instant Noodles

spicy instant noodles
Image Credit: Tmall

Every kitchen has got to have a pack or two of this. Instant noodles are my personal favourite supper option and I can never choose a favourite brand or flavour. Bashulanren, the famous self-heating Mala hotpot is truly for the lazy eaters, just like the name suggests. All you need is room temperature water and you will have a bowl of piping hot Mala, which rivals even the best Mala restaurants out there!

  • Where to buy: Local marts
  • Budget: 15RMB

 

Tea

man scooping tea leaves into tea pot
Image Credit: Oriento | Unsplash

Spanning decades of history, locally produced tea remains one of the most popular souvenirs to gift your family and friends when you return from a trip to China. Perhaps one of the best teas to get would be the Xihu Longjing, which happens to be Qianlong Emperor’s favourite. Xihu is the most famous lake in China, and it would only make sense if you purchase the tea from its place of birth.

  • Where to buy: Hangzhou, Capital of Zhejiang Province
  • Budget: from 250RMB

 

Tea Sets

brown ceramic tea set
Image Credit: Alisher Sharip | Unsplash

Now that you have bought quality tea leaves, a good tea set will surely complete the experience. The quality of the tea set makes a difference to the tea you make, so do not compromise on this. Be sure to enquire with the tea connoisseur on the material of the tea set, say ceramic or porcelain, before you make your purchase!

  • Where to buy: Hangzhou, Capital of Zhejiang Province
  • Budget: from 200RMB

 

Hand Carved Stamps

carved stamp set in a red and brown box
Image Credit: Joybot | Flickr

It is known that Qianlong Emperor loved his stamps and would stamp almost every piece of work. So while you’re in China, why not make one with your own name? Carved in various shapes and motifs, it is a meaningful gift and would be a pleasant surprise to the elderly to see their names carved out in traditional Chinese.

  • Where to buy: Yun Shui Yao Ancient Town in Nanjing County
  • Budget: from 20RMB

 

Calligraphy Artworks

man writing chinese words with brush
Image Credit: Marco Zuppone | Unsplash

Handcrafting skills are increasingly rare to master and find in China. So if you find calligraphy pieces that you love, make sure to bring it home! If you’re visiting Liulichang Street, you might find some skilled locals who are able to do a cut out of your caricature within mere seconds.

  • Where to buy: Liulichang Street
  • Budget: from 25RMB

 

Antiques

man smoking cigarette selling antiques by roadside
Image Credit: Em and Ernie | Flickr

With one of the richest civilisation history, antiques from ancient China are extremely valuable. Art streets and markets usually hold unique pieces so check them out if you are interested in crafted antiques!

  • Where to buy: Liulichang Antique Market
  • Budget: from 25RMB

 

Silk

colourful scarf with blue bag
Image Credit: Julie Aagaard | Pexels

A highly demanded fabric that was first produced in ancient China, silk has been widely traded across history. The famous Silk Road was where the Eurasians came to trade silk back in the olden days. Silk pajamas, scarves and other apparels are super comfy and is great as gifts.

  • Where to buy: Suzhou City
  • Budget: from 80RMB

 

Terracotta Warriors Replica

terracotta warriors stone statues
Image Credit: Aaron Greenwood | Unsplash

Terracotta Warriors are one of the most iconic historical wonders of Imperial China. From miniature replicas to life-sized replicas, you will find all shapes and appearances of Terracotta Warriors here. These warriors are sure to be the best souvenirs that you can get from Xi’an. While you’re in Xi’an, make sure to visit the Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum to bask in the grandeur of the Terracotta Warriors.

  • Where to buy: Xi’an Province
  • Budget: from 30RMB

 

Spices

bowls of spices
Image Credit: Ian Deng | Unsplash

Famous for their spicy Mala dishes, many of these spices are available in ready-made packets in local marts. If you want to taste them before buying, then head to the local street markets for more authentic and hot spice packets!

  • Where to buy: Local marts or street markets
  • Budget: from 10RMB

 

Souvenirs from the Forbidden City

chinese hand fans in six colours
Image Credit: Taobao

The most iconic architecture of China, apart from The Great Wall, has got to be the Forbidden City. The set of many popular Chinese dramas, such as Story of Yanxi Palace, the Palace sees over 15 million visitors a year. Head over to The Palace Museum Souvenir Store to score your share of ancient China souvenirs.

  • Where to buy: The Palace Museum Souvenir Store
  • Budget: from 15RMB

Chinese Hand Painted Kites

masked face kites
Image Credit: Will Clayton | Flickr

Kite-flying used to be a norm in Singapore before smartphones took over. Hand-painted kites are incredibly intricate and delicate so handle them with care! Artisans paint them with extra care and colourful patterns so pick your favourite and bring a piece of China back to Singapore!

  • Where to buy: Beijing
  • Budget: from 30RMB

Ready for your next trip to China? Remember to keep this list with you for a quick check on your souvenir buys!

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