China Bargaining Tips from Mrs RTC

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On a special day for us, I share a cherished memento of Mrs RTC’s and my early days together in Shanghai.

It took time for her to build up the courage to trust this infidel with the serious task of shopping at the local wet market. She did not let me embark on the test without instructions and training.

China Bargaining Tips



  1. look around, listens to quotes;
  2. asks around, & compare (avoid front);
  3. bargain price
  4. pick (yourself)
    • shrimp – jumping, big, fresh, avoid dead
    • vege[tables] – less water, fresh looking
    • fruit – avoid rotten under
  5. Weight eg 2 kuai / 1 jin [ 2 RMB per jin (roughly 500 grams)], [diagram of scale] weight / price x 2 / total; 00 to start, look here for price.


  1. no water in shrimp basket
  2. 00 to start with
  3. plastic trick holds water [sealing colander holes to prevent water draining]
  4. change bag, stick to the same bag [vendors swapping bags to substitute poor quality items]
  5. do not let it get out of your sight
  6. do not let them pick behind [turn their back to you]

Thank you dear, as always!

Check our Mrs RTC’s Smoother Skin for a Smooth Flight – Mrs RTC Turns Breakfast into Coffee Spa and Keeps Luggage Light.

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Rapid Travel Chai
9 years ago

@Grant – improving with time, still overmatched.

@guera – she cooperates only when she is in the mood, I cannot push her!

9 years ago

Actually, these are great tips for fish markets anywhere in the world. Lets have nore posts from Mrs. RTC!

9 years ago

Completely different world from American supermarkets. The list is a lot to keep track of. How did u do?

dale m
dale m
9 years ago

Yikes! Buyer beware! I remember only “bargaining” for what seemed like forever after they’d start at 8-10x the real price … but the “wet” market would indeed pose new challenges. Life on the street in China – tough stuff.

9 years ago