THERE is probably not an item Hong Kong shopaholic Barbara Anderson-Tsang cannot find if she puts her mind to it. If it is for sale, it is safe to say she knows where it can be found. From Mao buttons to fresh beansprouts, she knows the city backwards. Chances are she also knows what it should cost, and if she is being ripped off or given shoddy service, her finely tuned antennae twitch instantly. Her reputation as a professional shopper hangs on her knack for finding goods ranging from hairy crabs to designer handbags not only in Hong Kong, but also in Beijing and Vietnam. Several years ago she decided to share this wealth of information by documenting her shopping finds in user-friendly publications: The Hong Kong Home Decor Source Book; Hong Kong Antique, Fine Art and Oriental Carpet Galleries, and the Hong Kong Arrival Survival Map. At the time there were no such publications on the market and her first book was eagerly snapped up. Since then she has been updating the information regularly and adding to her exhaustive shopping lists. She has also started taking well-to-do expatriate wives on personalised shopping tours to help them spend their enormous home-furnishing budgets. The public was obviously hungry for this type of information as 10 days after being published, Anderson-Tsang's first book - published in 1989 - was on the South China Morning Bookshop bestseller list. Her latest updated book (the third version) on antiques, art and carpets was published in August and has sold more than 16,000 copies. All her books are up-to-date and packed with shopping secrets, practical tips and other sound advice. The advice given is also credible because she has personally checked out each complaint and taken the shop manager-owner to task if necessary. 'The books are intended to provide information for primarily three types of people. First there is the expatriate who is here for several years only and needs to find everything for his new apartment, secondly there is the long-term resident [Chinese and foreigner] who is looking for specific items, and the tourist or business person who is interested in buying things to take home,' Anderson-Tsang said. Originally from America, she read Mandarin and Asian studies at university, but she has also acquired a working knowledge of Cantonese since her first visit to Hong Kong in 1978. 'It has taken weeks and many miles of pounding the pavements, but I believe the book offers a selection of goods and services with prices ranging from the top to low end,' said Anderson-Tsang, who researched more than 600 companies for the Home Decor Source Book. 'I make it as easy as possible for foreigners to shop here by telling them a bit about each shop and its specialities, who to ask for if possible and what sort of service to expect. 'The telephone, fax number and address are given in full with the address also written in Chinese just to make things even easier for non-Cantonese speakers.' Anderson-Tsang even lists business hours and what forms of payment are accepted. Her home decor book contains an exhaustive list including outdoor furniture, children's furniture, indoor furniture and building materials. Hong Kong Antiques Fine Art and Oriental Carpet Galleries tells readers where to go if they are interested in antiques, carpets or fine art - and how not to get ripped off. For example, when describing one particular Chinese antique furniture shop, Anderson-Tsang writes: 'Pride is taken in offering affordable antiques, so most items in the shop are under $10,000. Advice is offered on the care of pieces and all prices are marked on each piece.' Describing another shop's atmosphere, she writes, 'the low-key sales pitch makes for pleasant browsing'. One of her most popular publications is the Arrival Survival Map which no guest room or home in Hong Kong should do without. And she will soon publish similar maps for Beijing and Vietnam. These publications are not only maps and shopping guides, but also edited versions of tourist books including many useful tips.