What to Buy in Shanghai: A Shopper’s Guide

When visiting Shanghai, you’ll find yourself immersed in a vibrant and bustling city known for its rich history, culture, and of course, its shopping scene. From traditional markets to modern malls, Shanghai offers a diverse range of unique and must-have items that make for perfect souvenirs or gifts for loved ones.

So, what should you buy in Shanghai? Let’s dive into the top things to consider:

What to Buy in Shanghai (List)

Key Takeaways:

  • Shanghai offers a wide array of unique products and souvenirs to choose from.
  • Must-have items include traditional crafts, fashionable accessories, and local delicacies.
  • Plan your shopping itinerary to explore both traditional markets and modern malls.
  • Be sure to check out Shanghai’s famous brands for the best gifts and souvenirs.
  • Shopping in Shanghai is an experience you won’t want to miss!

Chinese Souvenirs Online

If you can’t visit China or don’t have enough space in your luggage, don’t worry! You can find a wide selection of authentic and interesting Chinese souvenirs online. From traditional crafts to unique collectibles, online shopping for Chinese souvenirs is a convenient way to bring a piece of China into your home.

When browsing for Chinese souvenirs online, you’ll discover a treasure trove of items that showcase the rich cultural heritage of China. These souvenirs are meticulously crafted by skilled artisans and reflect the beauty and traditions of Chinese craftsmanship.

Some popular categories of Chinese souvenirs available online include:

  1. Traditional Chinese Crafts: Explore a range of traditional Chinese crafts that have been passed down through generations. From delicate cloisonné chests adorned with ancient metalwork decoration to intricate Chinese knots used as lucky charms, these authentic souvenirs embody the artistry and craftsmanship of traditional Chinese culture.
  2. Mao Memorabilia: Pay homage to the iconic Chairman Mao Zedong with Mao memorabilia. From posters and pins to books and artworks, these souvenirs capture an important era in Chinese history and serve as reminders of the country’s political and cultural development.

When purchasing Chinese souvenirs online, it’s essential to choose reputable sellers and platforms that offer authentic products. Look out for sellers who provide detailed product descriptions, high-quality images, and customer reviews to ensure the authenticity and quality of your purchase.

By shopping for Chinese souvenirs online, you can explore a vast array of options, compare prices, and read reviews from other buyers. This allows you to make an informed decision and find the perfect piece to commemorate your connection to Chinese culture.

Did You Know? Chinese souvenirs make meaningful gifts for loved ones, allowing them to experience a touch of Chinese culture and creativity.

Online Shopping Tips for Chinese Souvenirs

  • Research the seller’s reputation and check for customer reviews before making a purchase.
  • Read the product descriptions carefully to ensure the souvenirs are authentic and made with high-quality materials.
  • Compare prices across different platforms to find the best deals.
  • Keep an eye out for discounts, promotions, and special offers to save on your online shopping.

Now, let’s take a look at a stunning example of a Chinese souvenir that you can find online:

Chinese Souvenir Description

Chinese Cloisonné Chest

Experience the beauty of ancient Chinese metalwork with this exquisite cloisonné chest. Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, this chest showcases the traditional art of enamelwork that has been practiced for generations. The vibrant colors and intricate designs make it a remarkable centerpiece for any home.

Dimensions: 10 inches (length) x 6 inches (width) x 4 inches (height)

Material: Enamel on metal

Price: $149.99

Take a moment to appreciate the beauty of this cloisonné chest. Its vibrant colors and meticulous craftsmanship are sure to captivate anyone with an appreciation for traditional Chinese art.

Sichuan Pepper

Sichuan pepper, also known as peppercorn, is a popular spice in Chinese cooking. It adds a unique and delightful flavor to various dishes, making it a key ingredient in Sichuan cuisine and authentic Chinese flavors. What sets Sichuan pepper apart from other spices is its distinct citrusy taste, which adds a tangy and numbing sensation to food.

Used for centuries in Chinese culinary traditions, Sichuan pepper is known for its versatility. It pairs exceptionally well with braised dishes, enhancing the richness of flavors. Whether you’re cooking succulent pork belly or tender beef stew, Sichuan pepper can elevate the taste to a whole new level.

Not only is Sichuan pepper used in savory dishes, but it also adds a zing to pickled vegetables, creating a perfect balance of tanginess and spiciness. Additionally, Sichuan pepper is an excellent complement to various meats, adding depth and complexity to roast chicken, grilled fish, or stir-fried beef.

If you want to experience the authentic taste of Sichuan cuisine, incorporating Sichuan pepper into your dishes is a must. Its unique flavor profile will transport your taste buds to the vibrant streets of China and leave you craving for more.

A Popular Spice in Chinese Cuisine

In Chinese cooking, spices play a crucial role in creating savory and aromatic dishes. Sichuan pepper has a long history and is an essential ingredient in many traditional Chinese recipes. Its versatility and unique flavor make it a staple in the kitchen.

“Sichuan pepper adds a burst of citrusy and numbing sensation to dishes, creating an unforgettable taste experience.”

In addition to its mouthwatering taste, Sichuan pepper also offers various health benefits. It is known to have antimicrobial properties and is believed to aid digestion and relieve pain. With Sichuan pepper, you can enjoy delicious meals while reaping the potential health advantages.

Creating Unforgettable Flavors

One way to enjoy Sichuan pepper is by using it in its ground form, either on its own or mixed with salt. This combination, known as “pepper salt,” provides a delightful seasoning for your favorite dishes, adding a punch of flavor.

Sichuan Pepper Recipes Cuisine
Braised Sichuan Pepper Pork Chinese
Kung Pao Chicken Sichuan
Sichuan Peppercorn Shrimp Chinese
  1. Braised Sichuan Pepper Pork: This classic Sichuan dish combines succulent pork with a flavorful blend of spices, including Sichuan pepper, ginger, and garlic.
  2. Kung Pao Chicken: Originating from the Sichuan province, this famous dish features tender chicken, peanuts, and vegetables, spiced up with Sichuan pepper and dried chili peppers.
  3. Sichuan Peppercorn Shrimp: This mouthwatering seafood dish showcases plump shrimp cooked in a tangy and spicy sauce, with Sichuan pepper adding its distinctive flavor.

With its tantalizing taste and versatility, Sichuan pepper is an essential spice for any cooking enthusiast looking to add authentic Chinese flavors to their culinary creations. So, step into the world of Sichuan cuisine and let your taste buds savor the unique citrusy spiciness of this remarkable spice.

Handmade Paper-Cuts

Paper-cutting is a popular folk art in China that holds great cultural significance. It represents the rich traditions and customs of the country, conveying deep meanings through intricate designs and patterns. Handmade paper-cuts are particularly cherished as they symbolize an auspicious and joyful life.

During Chinese festivals, these exquisite paper-cuts are prominently displayed, bringing a festive atmosphere and adding a touch of elegance to homes and public spaces. The intricate craftsmanship and attention to detail make each piece of artwork a unique treasure.

A significant aspect of Chinese paper-cut art is the use of auspicious symbols, which are believed to bring good luck, prosperity, and happiness. These symbols range from mythical creatures and zodiac animals to floral patterns and traditional motifs.

When decorating with handmade paper-cuts, they are usually placed on windows, doors, or walls to invite positive energy and charm into the living space. Their vibrant colors and delicate designs create an enchanting visual experience that captivates both locals and visitors alike.

To further appreciate the beauty of Chinese paper-cut art, here is an example of a traditional Chinese paper-cut:

Whether you’re a collector, art enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of traditional Chinese decorations, owning a handmade paper-cut is a wonderful way to connect with Chinese culture and heritage. These timeless pieces of art not only showcase the craftsmanship and creativity of Chinese artisans but also serve as a cherished reminder of the vibrant celebrations and rich traditions found in Chinese festivals.

Traditional Chinese Hair Combs

Traditional Chinese hair combs are not just functional accessories, but elegant pieces of art that can enhance the beauty of any woman. Crafted with meticulous care and Chinese craftsmanship, these combs are made from natural wood and designed to add a touch of grace to any hairstyle.

Whether it’s a wedding ceremony or a special occasion, traditional Chinese hair combs make exquisite wedding accessories. They are delicately hand-made and hand-painted, showcasing the extraordinary craftsmanship that has been handed down through generations.

These combs are more than just hair accessories; they are symbolic of Chinese culture and heritage. The intricate designs and attention to detail reflect the rich traditions and history of China. When adorned with these combs, the wearer not only looks beautiful but also carries a piece of Chinese art and tradition with them.

Features Benefits
Hand-made Each comb is crafted with precision and care, ensuring a unique and high-quality accessory.
Hand-painted The combs are adorned with intricate designs and colors, making them visually stunning and adding a pop of color to any hairstyle.
Natural wood The use of natural wood adds an organic and eco-friendly touch to the combs, making them perfect for those who prioritize sustainability.
Elegant hair accessories These combs are not just functional items but also elegant accessories that can elevate any hairstyle and make a fashion statement.
Symbol of Chinese culture By wearing traditional Chinese hair combs, one can showcase their appreciation for Chinese craftsmanship and heritage.

Whether you are attending a wedding, a special ceremony or simply want to add a touch of elegance to your everyday look, traditional Chinese hair combs are the perfect choice. These exceptional accessories not only enhance your beauty but also celebrate the craftsmanship and artistic traditions of China.


“I wore a traditional Chinese hair comb on my wedding day, and it added such an elegant touch to my bridal look. The intricate designs and craftsmanship made it truly special, and I felt a connection to Chinese culture throughout the ceremony.” – Hannah, Bride

Chinese Kites

The tradition of making and flying kites in China goes back thousands of years. Chinese kites, often designed in the form of dragons or birds, are entertaining outdoor activities for both kids and adults. They can be flown in open spaces, parks, or beaches, and are a fantastic way to spark imagination and have fun.

Kite Types Description
Dragon Kites Dragon kites are a popular choice among kite enthusiasts. With their long tails and intricate designs, they resemble mythical creatures soaring through the sky. It’s a mesmerizing sight to watch a dragon kite dance in the wind.
Bird-Shaped Kites Bird-shaped kites come in various forms, representing different species and vibrant colors. They glide through the air gracefully, imitating the movements of real birds. Flying a bird-shaped kite offers a sense of serenity and tranquility.

Chinese kites are not only entertaining toys but also a window into Chinese culture and traditions. They are often seen during festivals and special events, where families gather to fly kites together. It’s a wonderful way to bond with loved ones and experience the joy of outdoor activities.

Shanghai-inspired Fashion and Accessories

When it comes to fashion and accessories, Shanghai offers a wide range of options that embody the city’s unique style. From vintage watches to vibrant silk designs, there’s something for everyone to express their personal taste and embrace Shanghai’s cultural blend.


NEOBIAO specializes in restoring vintage Chinese brand watches, allowing you to own a piece of history while adding a touch of elegance to your wrist. With meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail, NEOBIAO celebrates the heritage of Chinese horology.


If you’re looking to showcase your love for Shanghai, SMASH Shop offers a range of Shanghai-themed tote bags and t-shirts. These stylish and trendy pieces feature iconic landmarks and symbols of Shanghai, allowing you to carry a piece of the city’s charm wherever you go.

Suzhou Cobblers Silk Designs

Suzhou Cobblers is renowned for its exquisite silk designs on shoes and handbags. The vibrantly colored patterns and intricate embroidery capture the essence of Shanghai’s rich cultural heritage, making each piece a work of art that adds a touch of luxury to any outfit.

Shanghai Tang Jewelry

For those seeking elegant jewelry with a blend of local culture and modern design, Shanghai Tang is the brand to explore. Their exquisite pieces incorporate traditional Chinese motifs and materials, creating unique accessories that reflect Shanghai’s cosmopolitan energy.

With these Shanghai-inspired fashion and accessories, you can embrace the city’s style and culture wherever you go. The combination of traditional craftsmanship and contemporary designs exemplifies the dynamic spirit of Shanghai, making these products more than just fashion statements – they are wearable artifacts of this vibrant city.

Shanghai-themed Books and Art

For book lovers and art enthusiasts, there are several options to explore in Shanghai. Whether you’re interested in delving into the city’s rich architecture, immersing yourself in local literature, or capturing the essence of Shanghai through artistic prints, there’s something for every creative mind.

1. Garden Books

Immerse yourself in Shanghai’s architecture and culture with a visit to Garden Books. This esteemed bookstore offers a wide selection of Shanghai-themed books, providing an in-depth exploration of the city’s history, iconic landmarks, and captivating stories. From beautifully illustrated coffee table books to insightful guides on Shanghai’s vibrant neighborhoods, you’ll find a wealth of literary treasures that will transport you to the heart of the city.

2. PLUSMINUS prints

To adorn your walls with unique Shanghai-inspired artwork, look no further than PLUSMINUS prints. This local art studio showcases a collection of prints that offer a fresh perspective on the city through the eyes of talented local artists. From breathtaking skylines to hidden alleyways, these prints capture the essence of Shanghai in a visually stunning and thought-provoking way. Each piece tells a story and serves as a timeless reminder of your love for this vibrant city.

3. Pinyin Press

If you’re searching for lifestyle products and gifts that celebrate everyday life in China, Pinyin Press is the perfect destination. From stylish apparel adorned with Shanghai-inspired designs to intricately crafted accessories, their products reflect the vibrancy and charm of the city. With their unique blend of traditional Chinese elements and modern aesthetics, Pinyin Press offers a range of treasures that make for meaningful souvenirs or delightful gifts for friends and family.

When it comes to Shanghai-themed books and artwork, the options are diverse and captivating. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an architecture buff, or an art lover, these establishments provide a gateway to explore and appreciate the beauty of Shanghai’s culture and creativity.

Local Beverages and Coffee

When it comes to beverages, Shanghai offers some unique options. Whether you’re a cocktail lover, a caffeine enthusiast, or a beer connoisseur, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in the city.

Peddlers Gin: Distilled Eastern Botanicals

If you appreciate the art of mixology, Peddlers Gin is a must-try. This local gin brand is crafted with a blend of Eastern botanicals, creating a distinct flavor profile that sets it apart from other gins. Perfect for creating refreshing cocktails, Peddlers Gin captures the essence of Shanghai’s vibrant bar scene.

Shanghai-Blend Coffee by Jonas Emil

For coffee lovers, Shanghai has a thriving coffee culture, and Jonas Emil is at the forefront. Their Shanghai-blend coffee combines high-quality beans sourced from around the world to create a unique and rich flavor. Start your mornings with a cup of this exceptional brew and experience the city’s love for coffee.

Craft Brews: Shanghai Love Beer

If you prefer beer, Shanghai Love Beer is a local craft brewery that offers a variety of brews inspired by the city. From hoppy IPAs to smooth lagers, their selection captures the spirit of Shanghai. Whether you’re enjoying a night out with friends or looking to explore the local beer scene, Shanghai Love Beer is the perfect choice.

Beverage Description
Peddlers Gin A local gin brand distilled with Eastern botanicals, ideal for cocktail lovers.
Shanghai-Blend Coffee by Jonas Emil A unique blend of coffee beans sourced from around the world, capturing the essence of Shanghai’s coffee scene.
Shanghai Love Beer A range of craft brews that showcase the city’s brewing expertise and offer a taste of Shanghai.

Chinese Tea and Porcelain

Chinese tea and porcelain are quintessential Chinese products that make fantastic souvenirs. Yixing teapots, made with special clay, are sought-after items, while Chinese tea shops offer a wide selection of teas to choose from. Chinese porcelain, such as teacups and tea mugs, featuring traditional Chinese designs, are also great options for tea lovers.

If you’re a tea enthusiast, Yixing teapots are a must-have. These teapots are crafted using clay from the Yixing region of China, known for its high quality and unique properties. The clay is porous and can absorb the flavors and aromas of the tea, enhancing the taste of your brew over time. Yixing teapots are highly valued by tea connoisseurs for their ability to improve the tea-drinking experience.

Chinese tea shops are a paradise for tea lovers, offering a wide range of teas to suit every palate. From fragrant green teas to bold oolongs and delicate white teas, you’ll find a variety of flavors and aromas to explore. The knowledgeable staff can guide you in choosing the perfect tea for your taste preferences and help you navigate the vast selection.

Chinese porcelain is renowned for its elegance and craftsmanship. Teacups and tea mugs made from fine porcelain are not only functional but also beautiful works of art. Featuring intricate designs, vibrant colors, and delicate patterns, they add a touch of traditional Chinese aesthetics to your tea-drinking experience.

Whether you’re a tea aficionado or simply appreciate the beauty of Chinese porcelain, these souvenirs will bring a touch of China into your home and serve as a lasting reminder of your journey.

Enhance your tea-drinking experience with this beautiful tableware and immerse yourself in the rich traditions of Chinese tea culture. It’s the perfect way to savor a cup of tea while appreciating the craftsmanship and timeless beauty of Chinese porcelain.

Yixing Teapots Chinese Tea Shops Chinese Porcelain
Made with special clay from the Yixing region Wide selection of teas to choose from Featuring traditional Chinese designs
Absorbs flavors and aromas, enhancing the tea-drinking experience Knowledgeable staff to guide you in choosing the perfect tea Elegant and intricate craftsmanship
Highly valued by tea connoisseurs Variety of flavors and aromas to explore Beautiful works of art


In conclusion, when shopping in Shanghai, you’ll find a wide selection of unique and culturally significant products that are perfect for souvenirs and gifts. From traditional crafts to fashionable accessories, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city.

Explore the local markets and shops to discover exquisite handmade paper-cuts and traditional Chinese hair combs that showcase the extraordinary craftsmanship of Chinese artisans. Don’t forget to indulge in the flavors of Sichuan cuisine by bringing home some aromatic Sichuan pepper to enhance your cooking.

Whether you’re looking for Shanghai-inspired fashion and accessories, Shanghai-themed books and art, or local beverages and coffee, Shanghai has it all. These products not only capture the essence of the city but also make for meaningful mementos that will remind you of your memorable time in Shanghai.


What are some must-have items to buy in Shanghai?

When shopping in Shanghai, there is a vast array of unique and culturally significant products to choose from. Some must-have items include traditional crafts, fashionable accessories, local delicacies, and Shanghai-themed literature and artwork.

Can I purchase Chinese souvenirs online?

Yes, if you can’t visit China or don’t have enough space in your luggage, you can find a wide selection of authentic and interesting Chinese souvenirs online. These include items such as cloisonné chests, Chinese knots, and Mao memorabilia.

What is Sichuan pepper and how is it used?

Sichuan pepper, also known as peppercorn, is a popular spice in Chinese cooking. It has a citrusy flavor and is widely used in braised dishes, pickled vegetables, and various meats. You can also find ground Sichuan pepper mixed with salt to create “pepper salt,” a unique seasoning for your favorite dishes.

What are handmade paper-cuts and how are they used?

Handmade paper-cuts are a popular folk art in China, representing traditional culture and conveying deep meanings. These intricate pieces of artwork can be placed on windows, doors, or walls to add a touch of traditional Chinese charm to your home. They are often displayed during festivals and symbolize auspicious and joyful life.

What are traditional Chinese hair combs used for?

Traditional Chinese hair combs are eye-catching accessories that can elevate a wedding ceremony or accentuate a woman’s beauty. These hand-made, hand-painted combs are crafted from natural wood and showcase extraordinary craftsmanship. They are not only stylish but also a symbol of Chinese culture and heritage.

What are Chinese kites used for?

The tradition of making and flying kites in China goes back thousands of years. Chinese kites, often designed in the form of dragons or birds, are entertaining outdoor activities for both kids and adults. They can be flown in open spaces, parks, or beaches and are a fantastic way to spark imagination and have fun.

What fashion and accessories can I find in Shanghai?

Shanghai offers a variety of fashion and accessories that reflect the city’s unique style. You can find restored vintage Chinese brand watches, Shanghai-themed tote bags and t-shirts, vibrant silk designs on shoes and handbags, and elegant jewelry with a blend of local culture and modern design.

Are there any Shanghai-themed books and artwork available?

Yes, for book lovers and art enthusiasts, there are several options for Shanghai-themed literature and artwork. You can find books on Shanghai’s architecture and culture, unique prints that reflect the city through the eyes of local artists, and a range of lifestyle products and gifts inspired by everyday life in China.

What local beverages and coffee are popular in Shanghai?

Shanghai offers some unique options when it comes to beverages. You can try a local gin brand distilled with Eastern botanicals, enjoy Shanghai-blend coffee to satisfy your caffeine cravings, and explore a range of craft beers that capture the spirit of the city.

What Chinese products make great souvenirs?

Chinese tea and porcelain are quintessential Chinese products that make fantastic souvenirs. Yixing teapots, made with special clay, are sought-after items, and Chinese tea shops offer a wide selection of teas to choose from. Chinese porcelain, such as teacups and tea mugs featuring traditional Chinese designs, are also great options for tea lovers.

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