Business Traveler (USA) - - 4 HOURS -

Don’t spend too long on Qian­men as the clus­ter of hu­tongs that re­main are far more in­ter­est­ing. Me­an­der­ing through the maze of al­leys will take you past strange stalls sell­ing pun­gent meat, chefs sweat­ing over hand­made dumplings, jan­gling rick­shaws and neon signs ad­ver­tis­ing foot mas­sages. Some turn­ings will take you on to qui­eter, more res­i­den­tial streets where chil­dren play and derelict door­ways lead to hum­ble living quar­ters.

One of the more lively hu­tongs is Dazha­lan Street, and at num­ber 385 is an au­then­tic teashop. Pop in and pe­ruse the shelves and jars stocked with ev­ery­thing from gin­seng and jas­mine to oo­long and puer. The tea is tightly packed ei­ther as large 350g-400g discs wrapped in printed pa­per, loose or in small balls. It’s cheap and makes a nice sou­venir to take home.

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