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What Souvenir To Buy In China


by Vikky Cathcart



China is a land rich in history, culture, and traditions. From its diverse landscapes to its vibrant cities, this vast country offers a wealth of experiences for travelers. And when it comes to souvenirs, China doesn’t disappoint. Whether you’re shopping in bustling markets or exploring quaint shops, you’ll find an array of unique and traditional items to take home with you.


Each region of China boasts its own specialties, making the search for the perfect souvenir an exciting adventure. From traditional crafts and artworks to culinary delights and herbal products, there is something for everyone. Not only do these souvenirs make for memorable keepsakes, but they also offer a glimpse into China’s rich cultural heritage.


In this article, we will explore some of the top souvenirs to buy in China. From traditional Chinese crafts and artworks to authentic tea and silk products, we will highlight the must-buy items that capture the essence of this magnificent country. So, whether you’re a visitor or an expat living in China, be sure to keep these souvenirs in mind for your shopping adventures.


Traditional Chinese Crafts and Artworks

One of the most popular souvenirs to purchase in China is traditional crafts and artworks. These exquisite pieces showcase the skill and artistry that has been passed down through generations. From intricately carved jade sculptures to ornate cloisonné vases, there is a wide range of options to choose from.


Chinese silk embroidery is a true masterpiece. Delicate and meticulous, silk embroidery showcases stunning designs, often depicting traditional Chinese landscapes, flowers, or animals. These handcrafted pieces make for beautiful wall hangings or decorative pillows.


Another sought-after souvenir is Chinese lacquerware. Made from layers of lacquer, these items are painstakingly crafted and adorned with intricate designs. From lacquer boxes and trays to furniture and home decor, these items are exquisite and make for unique gifts.


For art lovers, investing in an authentic Chinese painting can be a great choice. Traditional Chinese painting techniques emphasize brushwork and ink washes. From landscapes and flowers to calligraphy, these paintings capture the essence of Chinese art and culture.


No discussion of Chinese crafts would be complete without mentioning porcelain. China is famous for its porcelain production, and owning a piece of fine Chinese porcelain is a must for many visitors. From delicate teacups and bowls to ornate vases and plates, porcelain makes for an elegant and timeless souvenir.


Whether you opt for delicate silk embroidery, intricate lacquerware, a stunning Chinese painting, or a piece of fine porcelain, these traditional Chinese crafts and artworks are treasures that will add a touch of elegance and cultural richness to any home or collection.


Authentic Chinese Tea

When it comes to beverages, China is renowned for its rich and diverse tea culture. With a history dating back thousands of years, Chinese tea is not just a drink but an art form. For tea enthusiasts or those looking to savor a taste of China, authentic Chinese tea makes for an excellent souvenir.


China is home to a vast variety of teas, each with its own unique flavor, aroma, and health benefits. From delicate green teas, such as Longjing (Dragon Well) and Biluochun, to bold and robust black teas, like Keemun and Lapsang Souchong, there is a tea to suit every palate.


Oolong teas are also highly prized and come in various styles, ranging from the lightly oxidized Tie Guan Yin to the heavily roasted Da Hong Pao. These teas offer a complex and nuanced experience with their floral, fruity, and toasty flavors.


Pu-erh tea, a fermented tea that improves with age, is particularly renowned among tea connoisseurs. With its earthy and mellow taste, Pu-erh tea is believed to have numerous health benefits, including aiding digestion and reducing cholesterol levels.


When purchasing authentic Chinese tea, it is essential to buy from reputable tea shops or tea plantations to ensure quality. The packaging of the tea should include information about the tea variety, origin, and brewing instructions.


Not only is Chinese tea a delightful souvenir to bring back home, but it also provides an opportunity to experience China’s rich tea culture firsthand. With its exquisite flavors and aromas, authentic Chinese tea offers a taste of tradition that will transport you back to the charming teahouses and serene tea plantations of China.


Chinese Silk Products

Silk has been a prized fabric in China for centuries, known for its luxurious feel, lustrous sheen, and delicate texture. China is renowned for its silk production, and purchasing silk products as souvenirs is a perfect way to bring a touch of elegance and tradition into your home.


One of the most popular silk products to buy in China is silk clothing. From beautifully embroidered qipaos, a traditional Chinese dress, to silk scarves and shawls in various patterns and colors, there is a wide range of options to choose from. The lightweight and breathable nature of silk make it a perfect material for clothing, especially in warm climates.


Silk bedding is another highly sought-after souvenir. Silk sheets, pillowcases, and duvet covers offer a luxurious and comfortable sleeping experience. Not only is silk naturally hypoallergenic and gentle on the skin, but it also helps regulate body temperature, keeping you cool in the summer and warm in the winter.


For those looking for smaller silk items, silk accessories are a wonderful option. Silk fans, handkerchiefs, and even silk-wrapped chopsticks can add a touch of elegance to your daily life or be a unique gift for someone special.


Another highly prized silk item is silk embroidery. Intricate and detailed, silk embroidery showcases the artistry and craftsmanship of Chinese artisans. From decorative wall hangings and tapestries to silk embroidered pouches and jewelry boxes, these pieces are true works of art.


When purchasing silk products, it is important to ensure their authenticity. Look for reputable sellers who offer genuine silk products and provide detailed information about the product’s quality and origin. Checking for the “silk” label or certification can also confirm its authenticity.


By bringing home Chinese silk products, you not only acquire luxurious and beautiful items, but you also become part of a long-standing tradition of Chinese silk craftsmanship.


Chinese Calligraphy and Paintings

Chinese calligraphy and paintings are not only beautiful forms of artistic expression but also integral aspects of Chinese culture and history. These timeless works of art make for unique and meaningful souvenirs, capturing the essence of China’s aesthetic traditions.


Chinese calligraphy, often referred to as the art of writing, is a highly respected and revered form of artistic expression. Calligraphy masters use special brushes and ink to create intricate strokes and elegant characters. Each stroke is carefully executed, reflecting the artist’s skill and mastery of the art.


When purchasing Chinese calligraphy, you can choose from various formats, including scrolls, wall hangings, and framed pieces. Each piece carries its own significance and can feature anything from classical poetry to philosophical texts. Hanging a calligraphy artwork in your home not only adds a touch of elegance but also symbolizes wisdom, harmony, and beauty.


Chinese paintings, on the other hand, capture the beauty of the natural world and scenes from daily life. Traditional Chinese landscape paintings often depict mountains, rivers, and forests, inspired by the Daoist philosophy that emphasizes harmony with nature. Floral and bird paintings are also popular, showcasing the delicate beauty of flowers and the lively movement of birds.


When purchasing Chinese paintings, you can opt for original pieces or high-quality reproductions. Original pieces are highly prized but can be quite expensive. Reproductions, on the other hand, provide an affordable option while still capturing the essence and beauty of the original artwork.


Whether you choose calligraphy or paintings, these artworks offer a glimpse into China’s rich cultural heritage and artistic traditions. They serve as reminders of the country’s deep appreciation for beauty, harmony, and self-expression. Owning a piece of Chinese calligraphy or a painting can bring a sense of tranquility and inspiration to any space.


Traditional Chinese Clothing and Accessories

Traditional Chinese clothing is not only visually striking but also represents the cultural heritage and history of the country. Buying traditional Chinese clothing and accessories as souvenirs allows you to not only acquire unique and beautiful items but also become part of China’s rich sartorial traditions.


One iconic piece of traditional Chinese clothing is the qipao, also known as the cheongsam. The qipao is a form-fitting dress that emphasizes the natural curves of the body. Made from beautiful and luxurious fabrics such as silk or brocade, the qipao is often adorned with intricate embroidery or embellishments. Wearing a qipao instantly adds an aura of elegance and grace.


For men, the traditional Chinese clothing known as the tangzhuang is an excellent choice. The tangzhuang consists of a loose-fitting jacket or coat worn over a matching or contrasting shirt. The intricate patterns and rich colors used in tangzhuang make it a visually dynamic and cultural significant attire.


In addition to clothing, traditional Chinese accessories can also make for exquisite souvenirs. One popular accessory is the silk fan, delicately painted with traditional Chinese motifs or calligraphy. These fans not only provide relief from the heat but also add a touch of sophistication to any outfit.


Another accessory to consider is the Chinese handbag or purse, often made from silk or brocade and intricately embroidered. These bags are not only functional but also serve as beautiful fashion statements. They feature auspicious symbols or traditional motifs that are representative of Chinese culture.


When purchasing traditional Chinese clothing and accessories, it is essential to seek out reputable sellers who offer authentic and high-quality items. You want to ensure that the materials used are of superior quality and the craftsmanship is impeccable.


By bringing home traditional Chinese clothing and accessories, you not only acquire beautiful and unique items, but you also embrace the elegance, sophistication, and cultural richness of Chinese fashion and style.


Chinese Cuisine and Cooking Ingredients

China is renowned for its diverse and flavorful cuisine, which varies greatly across different regions. The use of unique ingredients and cooking techniques makes Chinese cuisine a favorite among food lovers worldwide. Bringing home Chinese culinary souvenirs and cooking ingredients allows you to recreate authentic Chinese flavors in your own kitchen.


One popular culinary souvenir is Chinese tea. Tea plays a significant role in Chinese culture and is often enjoyed with meals or as a standalone beverage. Green tea, oolong tea, and Pu-erh tea are just a few examples of the wide variety of teas you can find in China. These teas not only provide a refreshing drink but also offer health benefits and can be used in cooking.


Another essential ingredient in Chinese cuisine is soy sauce. Traditional Chinese soy sauce is made from fermented soybeans and adds a savory umami flavor to dishes. Whether you prefer light soy sauce for dipping or dark soy sauce for stir-frying, bringing home a bottle of authentic Chinese soy sauce can elevate your cooking to new heights.


Chinese cooking oils are also worth considering as souvenirs. Peanut oil, sesame oil, and chili oil are commonly used in Chinese cuisine, adding distinctive flavors and aromas to dishes. These oils can be used for stir-frying, drizzling over noodles, or even as marinades for meat and vegetables.


If you’re a fan of spicy food, consider purchasing Sichuan peppercorns or chili peppers. These ingredients are essential in Sichuan cuisine, known for its numbing and spicy flavors. Grinding Sichuan peppercorns or adding chili peppers to your dishes can bring the authentic taste of Sichuan cuisine to your home.


Additionally, Chinese spices and seasonings, such as five-spice powder, star anise, ginger, and Shaoxing wine, can greatly enhance the flavors of your cooking. These seasonings add depth and complexity to dishes, giving them a distinctively Chinese taste.


Before purchasing cooking ingredients, it’s important to familiarize yourself with any customs regulations or restrictions regarding bringing food items back to your home country. Ensuring that the products are sealed and properly packaged is also crucial to avoid any leakage or damage during transportation.


By bringing home Chinese culinary souvenirs and cooking ingredients, you not only add exotic flavors to your dishes but also expand your culinary repertoire and experience the rich and diverse tastes of China.


Traditional Chinese Medicine and Herbal Products

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a history of over 2,000 years and is deeply rooted in Chinese culture. Known for its holistic approach to healing, TCM focuses on balancing the body, mind, and spirit to promote overall well-being. Bringing home traditional Chinese medicine and herbal products allows you to tap into this ancient healing wisdom and incorporate it into your daily life.


Chinese herbal products are a popular choice among those seeking natural remedies and holistic healthcare. From herbal teas and tonics to herbal skincare and beauty products, the range of options is vast. These products often consist of a blend of herbs, each chosen for its specific properties and ability to restore balance and promote health.


One widely recognized Chinese herbal product is ginseng. Known for its adaptogenic properties, ginseng is believed to boost energy, enhance mental clarity, and strengthen the immune system. It is available in various forms, including teas, capsules, and extracts.


Another notable herb is goji berries, which are packed with antioxidants and known for their immune-boosting properties. Goji berries can be consumed as a snack, added to smoothies or desserts, or even used in soups and stews.


Chinese herbal skincare and beauty products are also highly regarded for their natural ingredients and traditional formulations. Face masks, creams, and serums enriched with herbs like ginseng, licorice, and pearl powder can nourish the skin and promote a healthy complexion.


It is worth noting that traditional Chinese medicine and herbal products should be approached with caution and used in consultation with a qualified practitioner or herbalist. While many herbal remedies are generally safe, individual sensitivities and interactions with medications should be taken into consideration.


Purchasing TCM and herbal products from reputable sources is essential to ensure their authenticity and quality. Look for products that are certified and have clear ingredient labels and usage instructions.


By incorporating traditional Chinese medicine and herbal products into your wellness routine, you not only embrace the ancient traditions of Chinese healing but also explore natural remedies that promote balance and vitality in your life.


Chinese Porcelain and Ceramics

Chinese porcelain and ceramics are renowned worldwide for their exquisite craftsmanship, delicate beauty, and rich history. These timeless pieces make for stunning and elegant souvenirs that can elevate the aesthetic of any home or collection.


China has a long and distinguished tradition of porcelain production, with techniques dating back thousands of years. Chinese porcelain is known for its fine craftsmanship, intricate designs, and vibrant colors. Owning a piece of Chinese porcelain is like owning a work of art.


From intricate vases and bowls to delicate teacups and plates, there is a wide variety of porcelain items to choose from. Each region in China has its own unique style and characteristics, such as the blue and white pottery of the Ming dynasty or the colorful designs of the Qing dynasty.


One highly sought-after type of Chinese porcelain is Jingdezhen porcelain. Located in Jiangxi province, Jingdezhen is known as the “Porcelain Capital” of China. The craftsmanship and quality of Jingdezhen porcelain are regarded as some of the finest in the country.


When purchasing Chinese porcelain, it’s important to consider factors such as authenticity, condition, and provenance. Look for reputable sellers who can provide information about the origin and history of the piece. Inspecting the porcelain for any cracks, chips, or repairs is also advisable.


Chinese ceramics, including porcelain, are not just decorative items but also practical ones. Using Chinese porcelain teaware, for example, can enhance the tea-drinking experience by offering an elegant and traditional way to enjoy your favorite brew.


Adding Chinese porcelain and ceramics to your home décor can create a sense of timeless beauty and cultural richness. Whether displayed as standalone pieces or used for their intended purposes, Chinese porcelain and ceramics bring a touch of sophistication and elegance to any space.


Chinese Paper Crafts

Chinese paper crafts are a reflection of the country’s long history of papermaking and artistic ingenuity. From delicate paper cuttings to intricate paper lanterns, these crafts showcase the creativity and skill of Chinese artisans. Bringing home Chinese paper crafts as souvenirs allows you to appreciate the beauty and intricacy of this traditional art form.


One of the most well-known Chinese paper crafts is paper cutting, also known as Jianzhi. Using special scissors or knives, artists create intricate patterns and designs by cutting paper into various shapes. These paper cuttings often depict traditional symbols, wildlife, or scenes from Chinese mythology. Framing a paper cutting artwork is a great way to add a touch of elegance and cultural heritage to your home.


Chinese paper lanterns are another popular paper craft. These lanterns come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, and are often hung during festivals and celebrations. Lighting up a Chinese paper lantern not only adds a warm and inviting ambiance but also creates a festive atmosphere reminiscent of traditional Chinese culture.


Another unique form of Chinese paper craft is kites. Chinese kites have a long history, dating back thousands of years. They come in various shapes and designs, from traditional dragons and birds to more modern and elaborate creations. Flying a Chinese kite can be a joyful and rewarding experience, allowing you to appreciate the craftsmanship and artistry of this age-old pastime.


When purchasing Chinese paper crafts, it’s important to choose high-quality pieces that have been handmade by skilled artisans. Look for intricate details, fine craftsmanship, and sturdy materials to ensure their durability and authenticity.


Chinese paper crafts not only make for beautiful decorations but also serve as meaningful gifts. They offer a unique glimpse into Chinese culture and traditions, showcasing the country’s rich artistic heritage.


By bringing home Chinese paper crafts, you not only acquire beautiful and intricate artworks but also support the preservation of this timeless craft in an increasingly digital world.



Shopping for souvenirs in China is a delightful experience that allows you to immerse yourself in the rich culture, history, and traditions of this magnificent country. From traditional crafts and artworks to authentic tea, silk products, and traditional clothing, there is something for everyone to cherish as a memento of their time in China.


By exploring traditional Chinese crafts such as silk embroidery, lacquerware, calligraphy, and porcelain, you can acquire exquisite pieces that reflect the skill and artistry of Chinese artisans. These items not only serve as beautiful decorations but also capture the essence of China’s rich cultural heritage.


Authentic Chinese tea offers a sensory experience like no other. Whether it’s green tea, oolong tea, or Pu-erh tea, the diverse range of flavors and health benefits allow you to bring a taste of China home. Additionally, Chinese silk products, including clothing, bedding, and accessories, offer a touch of luxury and elegance that is synonymous with Chinese craftsmanship.


Exploring China’s culinary traditions is another way to bring home a piece of the country. From soy sauce and cooking oils to herbs and spices, these ingredients allow you to recreate authentic Chinese flavors in your own kitchen. Traditional Chinese medicine and herbal products offer an opportunity to embrace the holistic healing wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine, enhancing your well-being.


Whether you choose to bring home traditional crafts and artworks, tea, silk products, culinary delights, Chinese medicine, or any other unique souvenir, the key is to seek out authentic and high-quality items. Take the time to explore local shops, markets, and reputable sellers to ensure the genuineness of your purchases.


By selecting souvenirs that resonate with you, you not only acquire beautiful keepsakes but also become part of the grand tapestry that is Chinese culture. Each item embodies the stories, traditions, and skilled craftsmanship that make China a captivating and diverse destination.


So, whether you’re a visitor or an expat living in China, be sure to explore the vibrant markets and shops, and choose souvenirs that capture the essence of this magnificent country. These cherished mementos will serve as reminders of your time in China, evoking fond memories and allowing you to share the beauty and richness of Chinese culture with others.