Yuyuan Public Market brings tradition and taste under one roof

An old company dormitory has been transformed into an eclectic space where modern art, specialty coffee and classic breakfast fare come together
Yuyuan Public Market brings tradition and taste under one roof
Ma Xuefeng / SHINE

An entrance to Yuyuan Public Market 

Yuyuan Public Market, located in Hongye Garden residential area, is a community market that blends history and art, tradition and modernity. It is renovated from an old garment company dormitory to suit a variety of daily-shopping and lifestyle needs.

Yuyuan Public Market brings tradition and taste under one roof
Ma Xuefeng / SHINE

Shenxianju breakfast store

Breakfast store 早餐店

There are several eateries on the first floor of the market, offering authentic local foods. Among them, Shenxianju is known for breakfast specialties like youtiao (deep-fried dough sticks), dabing (flat bread) and doufuhua (bean curd jelly). Be prepared for a long queue between 7am and 8am on weekdays. For first-timers, the sweet dabing garnished with black sesame may be a good choice to start. Its light and flaky layers make it like a flat croissant.

Tailor’s shop 裁缝店

Next to the market, there are three craftsman’s studios including a tailor, a locksmith and a cobbler. Among them, the tailor has been running a family business in the neighborhood for several decades. “Many celebrities came to me to customize clothing or suits for their shows on Dragon TV,” the owner surnamed Zhao says with pride. You can get a traditional couture suit at a fair price of 500 yuan (US$74). 

Yuyuan Public Market brings tradition and taste under one roof
Ma Xuefeng / SHINE

The rainbow corridor

The rainbow corridor 彩虹长廊

On the second floor of the market, visitors will be welcomed by a corridor decorated with a mural inspired by Chinese painter Liu Haisu’s (1896-1994) famed painting of Yellow Mountain.

Su Shanghai Community Art Museum 粟上海社区美术馆

Beside the corridor, there is a community art museum where residents and visitors can enjoy well-curated exhibitions for free. According to Joseph Peng, the artist in charge of the museum, the idea of this space is to bring modern art into the community, making it more approachable to local people. There is also an area where children can paint or read.

Su Café 粟咖啡

Located at the entrance of the gallery, Su Café makes for a nice little pit stop. What’s special about this café is that they use a pour-over coffee machine which automates the traditionally artisanal process. The volume of water and pouring time are adjusted to each variety of coffee bean. According to the owner, the idea is to bring specialty coffee down to earth by brewing coffees with unprecedented speed and reliability, while freeing the barista to engage with customers.

Yuyuan Public Market brings tradition and taste under one roof
Ma Xuefeng / SHINE

Fiona Li shops at the market.

Wet market 菜市场

A wet market offering fresh vegetables, fruits and meats is another popular spot during the morning. Compared with other traditional markets, this one is elaborately and artistically decorated with mosaic tiles. The market is operated in a semi-self-service manner, meaning customers can pick up groceries and check out at a cash counter.

Yuyuan Public Market brings tradition and taste under one roof
Ma Xuefeng / SHINE

A staircase at the market

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