Here in South Africa the cost of living is really high and we generally pay a great deal more for products at our local store than say those of you in the US or UK. The kind of things I’m talking about range from fresh produce (fruit/veg), Meats, your all purpose loaf = breads… to cooking/baking products – pots/pans/bowls, electronic cooking/baking devices (large or small).
However purchasing these from specialized stores dedicated to selling only these products, such as butchers or bakers or organic markets or specialized baking or cooking stores often double the cost of these already costly items. We also don’t have the discount coupons, be it monthly or weekly, but we are very recently starting to slowly introduce the buy-one get-one free concept; which has been around in other countries for years.
Before I get bashed for rambling on, let me get to my point, which is that this high cost of living really affects a craftee such as myself who enjoys dabbling in the creative world… we definitely pay a premium for this; by default I hope.
But brace yourselves I have found the silver lining… it’s a little self serving, but hey, if not why not. I know there are millions of activists that would have my head for this, but some of the knock off products being imported from the Asia market work just as well, if not better. It would probably be a great time to say: “I am making specific reference to the baking tools and accessories – which also are not items responsible for any child labor and aren’t animal tested”.
In the past 3 years here in Cape Town specifically, we have seen a huge increase in the Asian population and with this the building of the “China Town” Malls.
When my sister and I plan to go to one of these mall’s we put a whole day aside, wear flat shoes and prepare our selves for a haul (shopping spree) of note. As you can find anything and or everything under the sun – it is also a really fond reminder of our trip to Thailand in 2011 and love that we can now have Green-tea to our hearts content.
The food stuff you find at the grocery stores are amazingly full of flavor – I generally stick to the things I tried and tested whilst in Thailand, however on the odd occasion I am known to be a little more daring with my choices
Majority of my baking goods I have purchased from a China Town store – either from the one at sable square (Tigerhof) or in Ottery. The other baking store I generally frequent is The Baking Tin, also in Ottery or the online store YuppieChef (You’ll see their badge in my side bar). I admit that I would much rather prefer to purchase my goods from a reputable company, however it does come down to price and trends change so often it’s easier to keep up if you don’t deplete the baking budget with one purchase.
The other fact I’ve noticed is that, because certain crafts such as baking is picking up so fast, a lot of the specialized stores also carry the brands I purchase from China Town at 100% mark-up or more. The other trend I see is that our local super markets are starting to sell imported brands, such as Wilton and Betty Crocker. The Wilton is very expensive… I only purchase that when it’s on sale; the Betty Crocker is inexpensive and great quality for the price.
So my eyes are always looking out for a great bargain and if I find it in my local store I’ll google the brand, check the pound or dollar price versus the rand and if it’s good I’ll go back and get it there; but in the same breath if I can get what I need from China Town at half the price… it’ll totally be my go to store.
I hope you enjoyed the post and my little China Town find…