This is a new page where I’d like to catalog some of my favorite Taobao “finds” and links for finding some useful things. We prefer to shop locally when possible, but we’ve really appreciated some of the convenience and options that Taobao has brought since we started using it a couple of years ago. Here are some of the sites and items we’ve liked. You may like them too!
I’ll try to keep this updated; I know prices often change and pages are sometimes discontinued. If you run into a link that doesn’t work or if you have a question, please comment below or contact me!
- Mozzarella Cheese– This site sells cheese in 1-jin packages for 28.8 RMB, already shredded. It’s typically shipped pretty quickly and comes with some sort of an ice pack to keep it cool. It sometimes looks like some moisture has gotten into the bag when it arrives, but the shreds of cheese still break apart and sprinkle easily.
- Powdered Sugar– This seller has powdered sugar for 4.8 RMB per 500 grams. I used to always make my own in a blender, but the price for this stuff isn’t much more than I pay for the white sugar I use to make my own. And this stuff is already made and is finer than my blender can get it. It’s not as fluffy feeling as nicer, pricier powdered sugar options (this stuff sometimes feels clumpy in the bag), but I just use a sifter and it comes out just as well.
- A1 Sauce– This seller has 19.8 RMB for a 240 gram bottle with free shipping.
- Honey Nut Cheerios– This seller has big 779g boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios for right around 50 RMB with free shipping.
- Whole Wheat Flour– This seller has individually sealed 500 gram bags of whole wheat flour for around 4 RMB each (sometimes cheaper with sales). If you buy a certain amount, you can get free shipping. I like these bags because they have pretty good zipper seals on them for resealing.
- Vanilla Beans– I bought a set of ten 13-inch vanilla beans from this seller for making vanilla extract. I was pleased with the quality. The set of 10 is 29 RMB. There are lots of other options for different lengths and quantities of vanilla beans on Taobao. You can try searching for one of these: 香草豆荚/ 香草荚/ 香草精/ 香草棒.
- Corn Chips & Nacho Cheese Chips– This site has three bags of chips for 65 RMB with free shipping. It’s our go-to source for corn chips. The seller was willing to send the varieties I requested if I asked for specific kinds. If you look around his site, you can also order single bags of chips.That same seller has these Red Beans and Rice Chips at 19 RMB for a 198 gram bag.And these Black Beans and Rice Chips also at 19 RMB for a 198 gram bag.
- Craisins– This seller often has discounted bags of Craisins. I’ve gotten the 1360 gram bag for as little as 59RMB before with free shipping.
- Soda Water– We bought a 24-can case of soda water on this site for 85 RMB with free shipping. Great for making our own sodas, etc.
- Syrups- We buy our syrups for making flavored sodas, kombuchas, etc. from this seller. The peach syrup is 21 RMB. And he has a bunch of other syrups (hazelnut, vanilla, strawberry, maple, etc.) that are 29 RMB. Here’s a link to one. There are links to the others from this page.
- Mini Snyder’s Pretzel Pieces- We occasionally get these little bags for a fun snack. They’re usually between 4 and 5 RMB and sometimes go on sale. (Link 1, Link 2, Link 3)
- Limmi Lime Juice– 14.8 RMB for a 200 gram bottle.
- Garam Masala– I bought a 100 gram box of garam masala from this seller for 13.5 RMB to use in my Indian cooking. It works well!
- Unsweetened Shredded Coconut– This shredded coconut is often on sale for 14-15 RMB per 500 grams, with free shipping when you buy 1000 grams.
- Lemon Juice– We often buy our lemon juice from this seller for 18 RMB for a 500 mL bottle.
- Unflavored Gelatin– We buy boxes of unflavored gelatin from this site for making our own fruit juice jellos, etc. This site has 500 gram boxes for 30 RMB.
- Heinz Barbecue Sauce– This barbecues sauce is great to have on hand for last-minute get-togethers when there’s not time to make our own. A 600 gram bottle is 16 RMB in this shop.
- Vital Wheat Gluten– This stuff is great for adding to various bread recipes. It’s 6 RMB per 500 grams on this site and does wonders for texture, especially in baked goods made with whole wheat flour.
Kitchen Items & Tools
- Plastic Bags- I like to buy my plastic bags online; it ends up being so much cheaper than buying boxed Ziploc bags from the supermarket. Even though we’re big on washing and re-using bags, it’s easy to go through them quickly for storing food, sending leftovers home with friends, etc. Each pack of bags from this site includes 100 plastic bags for somewhere between 3 and 7 RMB. Shipping is 10 RMB, but it’s still just a fraction of the price of the ones in the supermarket here. These ones aren’t quite as thick as Ziploc bags but are great for leftovers and doggy bags.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons– This seller has sets of measuring cups and spoons for 6.8 RMB (the price for cups and spoons together). If you spend at least 39.9 RMB, you get free shipping. I bought a bunch of these cheap sets to give friends when I teach them how to cook American recipes. It’s nice for them to have a set of measuring cups to take home so they can try to make it themselves. I asked the seller for the colors I wanted, and he was happy to honor my request.
- Disposable Coffee Cups- This year, Austin and I are enjoying a few “at-home-café dates” each month where we make some fun coffee or tea drink and sit down to listen to some speaker or read something together. We could certainly use coffee mugs, but I found these cute disposable coffee cups and thought I’d elevate our dates to more of a coffee shop feel. This seller has really affordable 400 and 500 mL cups that come in sets of 50- 100 cups and lids with free shipping. (Link 1, Link 2, Link 3)
- Cupcake/ Snack Cups– I really like buying these disposable paper cups for use at dinners and parties. They’re intended for cupcakes, but I use them for making individual cups of fruit salad, veggies and dip, salsa and chips, etc. They’re handy and easy to clean up! On this site, they cost 1 yuan for 10 of them. Or run a Taobao search for “蛋糕纸杯” for many more color and design options.
- Baking Paper– Baking paper is something I never used in America but use constantly in China. It makes for easy cleanup of baked goods, easy sliding of pizzas from the table where they were designed into the piping hot oven, and easy flipping of cakes out of their pans. If you reuse pieces, one of these rolls can last a long time.
- Blackboard Clothespins– I love these blackboard clothespins. I’ve used them when students come over for make-your-own-whatever nights, where they use the clothespin to label their own creation, or for marking dates on kombucha I’m brewing. They’re handy, handy, handy, and just 0.9 RMB each.
- Elephant Scarf/ Tablecloth– This seller has wide scarves that I use as tablecloths. I got the navy blue and cream colored ones. They’re 19.9 RMB with free shipping.
- Hats/ Scarves– This site has cute hats that can actually also be worn around the neck. For 6-8 RMB each, they’re great! The quality is really good, and the shipping is free.
- Favorite H&M Basics Tank Tops– This is more than I usually like to spend on clothes in China, but the quality and fit is good, which may save me in the long run. These tank tops are 10 RMB more than they are in stores here in China, but they’re good. 59 RMB each.
- Cardigans– These lightweight, somewhat one-size-fits-all cardigans have been a great staple in my China wardrobe. There are often sites that carry them for just 10 or 12 RMB each, but this is the cheapest one I’ve used that is operating at the moment. There are lots of great colors. The sleeves are barely long enough, but if you like to push them up anyway like me, they’re perfect! This site has a variety of colors for 19 RMB each with free shipping.
Home Decor/ Party Decorations/ D.I.Y. Home Projects
- Hemp String– This site has rolls of hemp string of different widths and lengths for 1 yuan each. We bought a few rolls for our five-year anniversary party last year and used it to tie around various jars and vases.
- Burlap Fabric– We got this burlap fabric for a party we had last year and used it to cover tables and also cover a bulletin board. I bought the cheapest one for about 2.5 RMB per half meter and it was great. The weave is a little loose and there are a few places that are rough, but we’re happy with it.
- Brown Baskets– We got some of these baskets for a party a while back and have used them again and again. They’ve held up great for us, and for 8 RMB, they’re a good buy. This seller has lots of other reasonably priced baskets as well.
- Red and White Fabric– We have a hard time finding fabric we like in local stores around here—there’s a whole lot of Looney Toons and Mickey Mouse going on. We liked this red and white fabric and got some for making a tablecloth for picnic-themed dinners. This seller has several other colors and patterns as well, and it’s much cheaper than most fabric in local shops.
- Light-up Badminton Birdies– I got the cheapest set on this page, which was about 18 RMB with free shipping for 4 light-up badminton birdies. They look like ordinary, cheap birdies, but right inside the head, there’s a little metal wire that you flick to the side, lighting up the birdie. These were fun on a glow-in-the-dark badminton date we had last year.
- Glowsticks– This site has lots of options for purchasing glowsticks. I got the set of 50 glowsticks in a variety of 5 colors for 10 RMB with free shipping. The set comes with little connectors for making the glowsticks into bracelets, headbands, etc. The quality was good; they kept glowing for hours.