For the cheapest fresh food in Singapore you can’t go past wet markets. The term wet markets is one I only discovered when I moved here, it’s basically a fresh food market, stocked mainly with local fruits, vegetables, seafood, meats and some grocery items. Wet markets are one of the great benefits of living on this small island. And although the wet markets in Singapore aren’t as exotic or adventurous as in other South East Asian countries, the wet markets here offer the advantage of being fairly clean and well organised compared to those of their neighbours.
For those new to the city, or even for people who’ve lived here a while, sometimes a particular food item can be difficult to find in a wet market or elsewhere. Whether it’s local delicacies or imported goods, sometimes there are only one or two wet markets or shops that stock what you need and unless you happen to know that shop then you can spend hours searching in vain for random ingredients.
I’ve unravelled the mysteries of fresh food shopping and found the cheapest options for you by food type below, listed in alphabetical order. Then just refer to my Guide to Fresh Food Shopping in Singapore that contains full details of markets and shop locations.
Aperol and Specialty Italian Wine
Italian Food & Wine does pretty much what it says on the tin. They stock a good range of pasta, fresh and dry, olive oils, Italian pantry staples and a well cared for wine selection. As well as Aperol (used to make an Italian spritzer) which is very hard to find!
I only found these recently at Tekka Centre, there’s a lady out the back with a stall full of banana leaves and they cost next to nothing (50 cents will get you 2 or 3). They are great for wrapping fish and cooking on the BBQ (see my recipe here).
Although the quality and array of fish available in the wet markets is excellent, you won’t find Barramundi there (although a fish monger did try to pass off a sea bass as Barramundi to me). The Fishwives import their Barra directly from Australia, it’s wise to order in advance (details can be found on my Guide to Food Shopping in Singapore. I paid $14 per fillet (2 fillets was enough for 3 people) so it’s not cheap, but the taste and texture goes beautifully with Asian cooking. If you’d like a simple and very low calorie recipe then check out my Recipes page.
Tiong Bahru Wet Market is good for Australian and New Zealand Beef. There are a couple of stalls at Tiong Bahru, they’re clearly labelled on their signage above the stall for Australian and New Zealand produce. And you can see the local packaging to ensure authentic provenance. You’ll pay around $35 per kg for rib eye here, almost half the price of the supermarkets AND they’ll cut it just as you like.
Tekka Centre has Joe’s Butchery where you can get a wide range of Beef and lamb products. Prices are higher than in the rest of the market but lower than the supermarket.
Huber’s Butchery at Dempsey has a phenomenal range of meats, particularly cuts that are more unusual (like Hangar Steak, Veal for Osso Bucco etc). Meat here is expensive but it’s definitely good.
Aside from Cold Storage which has a decent selection, a great place for fresh cheese is Wine Connection. They stock a range of French and other imported cheese, including Vacherin (when in season) and Comte.
The Fishwives also stock fresh French Hormone & Antiobiotic Free Range Chickens. A whole chicken is $19.50, 4 small breasts are $10 and they also stock wings, legs, mince etc. It’s good to call and check what’s in stock before you go. Their details can be found on my Guide to Food Shopping in Singapore.
Coconut Milk (fresh) and Shredded Coconut (fresh)
I looked everywhere for shredded coconut recently and then I found about three vendors in Tekka Centre who grind it whilst you watch. It’s so much better than anything store bought and it costs hardly anything at all (I think I paid less than $1 for around 400grams). You can also buy fresh coconut milk that is thick and very tasty, perfect for cooking or smoothies. It comes in a packet and lasts over a week and is about 10 times better than the UHT varieties.
The best local fish market is Tiong Bahru Market. There are a couple of stalls I frequent here and aside from being very helpful the prawns and seafood is always very fresh. The stall at #01-146 is my favourite and his prawns are the best (sometimes I even ask them to peel them for me which they do!)
Fruit at all the local markets is good. You can also try Pasarbella or Supernature for organic produce. Refer to the Guide to Food Shopping in Singapore for their details.
I only worked out recently that Gula Melaka is basically palm sugar. You can buy it at Tekka Centre or Geylang Serai market.
Allswell in Geylang have fresh and frozen lobsters. Boston lobsters and Australian lobsters are $55 per kg. Frozen lobster is $18 per piece (around 500 to 600 grams).
Pasarbella market also have lobsters but you’ll pay around twice the price.
See above under Argentinian for details of BoCHINche. Also worth mentioning is The Butcher. Finally there is a proper butcher in the vicinity of River Valley. You’ll find them at the top of Mohamed Sultan next to the scaffold clad building. They stock a huge range of prime meat and chicken as well as deli items like smoked duck breast, pates, cheeses and dry biscuits. They’re taking orders from now until December 12th for Christmas.
11 Mohamed Sultan Road, Singapore
phone +65 6238 2166
Allswell was a great discovery for their $2 Canadian oysters. Call to check availability before you go (number found in the Guide to Fresh Food Shopping in Singapore).
The Fishwives import salmon directly from New Zealand and have full traceability of products from harvest to delivery. You can buy a side of salmon for $70 per kg or 150g fillets come in at around $14 each. Refer to the Guide to Food Shopping in Singapore for their details.
Geylang Serai has the best range of Middle Eastern spices. Tekka Centre is better for Indian spices. Try Jason’s for more exotic spices.
Fresh veggies at all the markets are good. For organic you can either try Pasarbella or Supernature. Refer to the Guide to Food Shopping in Singapore for their details.
Wine Connection has an excellent selection ranging from budget to mid level. For larger deliveries you should also sign up to Robert’s newsletter at Wine Exchange Asia, they have some very good deals, particularly on higher quality wines.
You’ll find all of these suppliers listed alphabetically on my Guide to Food Shopping in Singapore.