A great shopping tip a friend of mine introduced me to is to get delicious goodies from the Kempinski Deli, next to the You Yi Shopping Mall or Lufthansa Center.
If you're willing to wait until 9pm every night, all cakes, pastries and breads are half off. You heard me right -- 50 percent off.
However it's not a little known secret. Many locals take advantage of this and some line up over half an hour before the appointed time to take advantage of the great deal.
They stand there and oggle at the selection of cakes -- the number of which depends on how many were consumed earlier that day.
Some come with their families, in which case the young kids run amok all over the deli, constantly opening and closing the freezer door that holds various takeaway sizes of Haagen-Daz ice cream, changing their mind of which slice of cake they want to eat, or rearranging the furniture. Other adults come with friends and they strategically talk about which slices they want to eat and have second and third choices ready in case they are already gone by the time it is their turn to order.
It really is about strategy which is why people want to get their early so they can get their first picks.
I'm sure they also drive the staff crazy with their numerous questions, asking what each cake flavour is and how much things cost. Sometimes customers who have waited for a long time will try to trick staff into thinking it's 9pm, but they are used to this behaviour and politely ignore them.
As soon as it's 9pm, the staff spring into position and start taking orders. Then by the time customers go to the cashier to pay for their items and come back to pick up their goods, their orders are already packaged and bagged.
The good thing is that I pretty much get whatever I want because I'm not there for the cakes, though they look delicious. I'm there for the bread.
Supermarkets here don't sell good bread -- Chinese-made bread is usually very sweet and use refined flour.
Here at the deli I can get multigrains and some interesting combinations like dark beer bread, the Kempinski house bread, a dark large round bread, olive ciabatta, and sunflower bread -- all half off.
I usually buy three loaves at a time and then freeze them if I'm not eating them right away.
Who says eating western food has to be expensive? You just have to be willing to wait.