Wet Markets and Fresh Food in Singapore

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!

Banana Leaves

banana leavesI 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).

Barramundi

fresh barramundiAlthough 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.

Beef

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.

Cheese

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.

Chicken

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.

Fish

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

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.

Gula Melaka

I only worked out recently that Gula Melaka is basically palm sugar. You can buy it at Tekka Centre or Geylang Serai market.

Lobsters

fresh lobsters at pasarbellaAllswell 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.

Meat

butcherSee 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.
The Butcher
11 Mohamed Sultan Road, Singapore
phone +65 6238 2166

Oysters

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).

Salmon

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.

Spices

Geylang Serai has the best range of Middle Eastern spices. Tekka Centre is better for Indian spices. Try Jason’s for more exotic spices.

Vegetables

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

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.

Comments

  1. Katy Beechey says:

    By far my favourite (& in my opinion, most informative) of your blogs to date. Your emails entice me every week-I just can’t wait to get out to Singapore & start exploring all the foodie havens you’ve discovered! Thank you.

    • Thanks Katy! That’s great to hear, I really struggled this week with a topic and hoped that this one would appeal to people so the feedback is really good, thank you. I get such a kick out of all the great food finds in Singapore and I want everyone to be able to enjoy too. Have a great weekend!
      Singapore Foodie recently posted…Wet Markets and Fresh Food in SingaporeMy Profile

  2. Hi ,

    Can please tell me where in Tekka Market you get fresh coconut milk?

    Thanks
    Upasana

    • Hi Upsana,
      I haven’t noted the store number so I’ll do my best to describe the location. If you enter the market from serangoon road and head straight through, past the hawker stalls, until you get to the junction between the meat stalls (on your right) and the fruit stalls (on your left). Go past the first row and then go left. Then I think it’s your next right and about half way down. Next time I’m there I promise to get the stall number. The store is on the left and has a fridge with different sized packets of coconut milk. If you can’t find it just ask a stall holder and they’ll point you in the right direction. Good luck!
      Singapore Foodie recently posted…Time to Celebrate! My Profile

  3. Thank you for the suggestion on where to find fresh banana leaves. I will scour the tekka market for some very soon. I am also really glad to chance upon your blog.

    -Laura

    • Hi Laura and thanks for your comments 🙂 Glad you’ve enjoyed the blog. I still haven’t found banana leaves anywhere else so it’s a good one to know. The stall is at the back of the market near Chia’s veggies.

  4. Xian Hui says:

    Hey!

    Your post if a life saver! I am thinking of getting those thai young coconut in cartons from NTUC Warehouse club to process them at home, i.e. getting the coconut water, demeat the coconut and shred them, milk and use the dehydrated shredded meat as coconut flour. But is it too tedious? Hahaha. Could I get Fresh Coconut Water from Tekka Market as well?

    Anw, do you know where I can get quality pork such as leaf lard to render my lard, bones for bones broth and chinese soup?

    Love
    Xian Hui

    • Hi Xian Hui,
      I’m so pleased you found the post useful. I’d definitely be going to Tekka for shredded coconut meat, it’s about $1.50 for about 2 cups of meat. They also sell fresh coconut milk that is thick and super good. I’m not too sure on pork but I’d suggest either The Butcher or Huber’s (at Dempsey). You could also try Tiong Bahru where there are several pork stands, I’m not an expert on pork but you can see that there is good quality meat there. Good luck!

  5. Xian Hui says:

    Thanks for the reply!

    What about fresh coconut water, does Tekka Market carry them as well?

    Love
    Xian Hui

    • Hi Xian Hui,
      I’ve seen the whole young coconuts in Tekka, the ones that you need some kind of implement to gouge them open with. I normally just get them from the supermarket.

  6. haryadoon says:

    Yes, still a great post after a couple of years of Singapore coming and going 🙂

    I recommend a visit to Pek Kio wet market as well. It’s a 15 minute walk from Tekka Mkt and also sells banana leaves. They tend to close up relatively early – you must be there in the morning. It’s the only place I’ve ever seen live bullfrogs for sale (not as if I’d ever eat them, though).

    One fishmonger, Uncle Richard, often has slipper lobsters (aka “crayfish” or Balmain/Morton Bay bugs). I really love them and they remind me of my years in Oz. Each one is only a few dollars, so great value if you don’t mind cracking them open.

  7. haryadoon says:

    Fresh tuna! Why can’t I ever find fresh tuna in Singapore? It sometimes appears on the sushi train at places like Ichiban Boshi and Sakae Sushi, but it’s never available at supermarkets or wet markets that I’ve ever seen. I love fresh tuna and have tons of recipes for it, but just cannot find it.

    I wonder if there’s some legal restriction in SG against selling it…

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