Where do I buy…?

One of the most frustrating things about being in a new place is figuring out where to buy things you need. It’s a problem especially compounded by both being in a foreign country where the brands are different, and moving to a country where the voltage is different from your home country. This means loads of purchases to be made, without the knowledge of where to go and which brands are reputable.

If you are new to Singapore, and have a loads of things to buy, here are some places I recommend:

Small Appliances and Electronics

  • Mustafa
  • is an Indian superstore that has a little bit of everything. I would call it the Indian Wal-Mart. They have a lot of small appliances, with major brands like Phillips, Braun and many others. They sell everything from irons to rice cookers. The prices are some of the best I’ve seen, but the shopping experience is a little hard. Plan on taking several hours out of your day to wander around lost in the store. It is built across three blocks with bridges over the streets on certain levels. As a result, navigating the store is like being a rat in a maze. It is located in Little India. I didn’t price their electronics, but they had a nice selection.

  • Courts
  • is another store that seems to have a bit of everything. They have every small appliance you need. The store is spacious, and doesn’t feel crowded. It has the feel of a Best Buy back home, but with furniture too. The prices are good but not great. As a bonus, the store in Tampines has a kids electronic playroom where you can drop off your six year old and above to play and there is an in store restaurant with a children’s play area.

  • Carrefour
  • is the French version of Wal-Mart. It is centrally located in Plaza Singapura and is next to the Dhoby Ghaut MRT. I like Carrefour because the prices are reasonable and they have a large selection. They also deliver for free for purchases over $150. The downside is the store is run down, it smells funny, and I haven’t had the best of luck with some of the small appliances I bought there. I think tht was because it was early in my move here, and I hadn’t adjusted to the sticker shock an American suffers when faced with $90 irons, so I bought brands I had never heard (like Akira) because they were cheap. We bought our safe here too, and have been quite happy with it.

  • Harvey Norman
  • is another Best Buy type department store. We bought our TV there and believe we got a good deal. The store seems nice and clean. It lacks personality, though.

  • Tangs
  • is the Malaysian department store, with at least two locations, on Orchard and Vivo City. Tangs is like your Malaysian Macy’s or Dillard’s. It is nice, clean and always having a special of some sort. It is crowded on the weekends, but fine during the week. Their prices are a little high, but not too much so, and since you can shop for clothes while you are out, it can kill two birds with one stone.

    Groceries

  • Cold Storage
  • has the things to suit the Western diet. However, they will take you for every dime you have. I shop there for essentials, Iike string cheese, that is hard to find elsewhere. They are also the closest to my house, and I shop there a lot for convenience. However, things that we go through a lot of, like toilet paper, are best bought at Mustafa or Carreour. For example, the toilet paper we buy is $12.50 at Cold Storage, but $7.50 at Mustafa. That’s worth making a trip to Mustafa to stock up on things you buy often. Try to avoid buying meat at Cold Storage. Twice I have bought chicken and it was bad before the expiration on the package.

  • Marketplace at Tanglin Mall
  • is another place popular with Westerners. They carry organic milk and nice looking fruits and vegetables, with a much broader selection of jelly (they carry the grape jelly we miss from home) and flour (including King Arthur brand). They, too, are pricey, but it is easy to navigate the aisles are wide, and the taxi stand is quick.

  • Mustafa
  • again is cheap and has a wide variety of foods. They don’t have as many Western things, like string cheese and organic milk, but they do carry a wide variety of juice, snacks, vegetables, herbs, fruits and fish. Go here is you want a large quantity of cilantro. A giant bag is $1.50, and they have dill, mint, English parsley, and many many more. The prices are great. Of course they also have every Indian type of food you could think of, and the spices are amazing. Go here for your spices.

  • Huber’s Swiss Butcher
  • has all of the meats you are looking for, and they are delicious! They carry organics, grass fed meats, and even Argentinian steaks. They are pricey, but they do talk about their chain of refrigeration so you feel like the meat is safe. They also carry American style pepperoni and lots of salami, as well as a lot of Swiss chocolate snacks!

  • Wet Markets
  • have a lot of fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. I personally don’t shop at them, because I get skeeved out by their meat handling practices, but a lot of people do shop there. They are akin to a farmer’s market. They call them wet markets, though, because of a tendency for the fish mongers to rinse out their stalls with water, so don’t wear your best shoes.

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    2 thoughts on “Where do I buy…?

    1. Hi. Have you been able to find KingArthur flour elsewhere in Singapore? Marketplace and Cold Storage bought a big batch earlier this year, but once finished, they didn’t reorder.

    2. Hi, I was looking through your list and I realized that you left out the more common supermarkets that could be found in most neighbourhoods such as Fairprice AKA NTUC as well as Giant and Sheng Siong. Just to chip in, if fresh seafood at affordable/cheap prices are what you’re looking for, Sheng Siong would be a good place to go. They have quite a few outlets island-wide. However, If you want to find more ‘western’ ingredients, I suggest Fairprice Xtra and Century Square in Tampines.
      Also, I’ve noticed that you seem to visit the outlets around Singapore ‘city area’ which could explain the higher prices for grocery. For example, the coldstorage at Tampines 1 sells honey baked ham and $1.70 per gram. However, other outlets price the ham at $3.00++. When buying groceries, it would be best to shop at the neighbouhood outlets or outlets in shopping centres around residential areas. Depending on the brand and item, the price might also be cheaper than mustafa when it comes to groceries.

      Of course this is all just me trying to help out if you hadn’t known about it cause I’ve lived in Singapore all my life so I just wanted to try and help out.

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