If you’re a new expat in Singapore, you’ve probably heard the words ‘Cold Storage’ being mentioned as ‘the’ supermarket to head to for food shopping on the island. But there are actually lots of options for picking up affordable, good quality produce – it just depends on what you’re after. There are four supermarket chains in Singapore, plus several smaller, independent stores too. Some focus on cheap prices, others specialise in good quality meat, many offer fresh fruit and a couple provide online deliveries.
Shopping tips before you go:
• You’ll need a dollar to release a trolley, which is ejected when the trolley is returned
• In the seafood section, the fresh fish can be prepared to your liking. If you choose a whole fish, ask for it to be cleaned (gutted) and/or filleted. The bones will be returned to you with the fish.
• Have Google at the ready – the locals use different names for many things
• That weird smell is probably durian. Embrace it, it’s everywhere!
THE BIG SUPERMARKET BRANDS
This supermarket tends to fly under the radar in Singapore, as their 33 stores are largely tucked away in the ‘heartland’ areas. Aside from very competitive prices, the main reason to visit is Sheng Siong is for their great, huge selection of quality fresh seafood, including frogs and live lobsters. They also stock Western brands including dairy, alcohol, packaged food, toiletries and essential household products. The fruit and vegetables are generally high quality – although you’ll need high tolerance when it comes to that durian smell! It’s also the only supermarket where we’ve seen fresh produce labeled “Grown in Singapore”.
Cold Storage has 48 stores and many are located in areas with large expat communities. Cold Storage has a large range of international brands (even a Waitrose line!) and stocks fresh organic produce, as well as a full range of seafood, meat, alcohol, fresh fruit and vegetables, bread and more. Use an ez-link Passion card to accrue points. Home delivery available.
FairPrice Finest and Fair Price
FairPrice Finest has at least 15 outlets around Singapore’s major shopping centres and offers a wide selection of Western, Asian and local brands. It stocks fruit and vegetables, organic produce, meat, poultry, fresh sushi (our healthy lunchtime fave), fresh seafood, alcohol and more. Even more Fair Price (without the Finest) stores are also dotted all over the island. Smaller than their ‘Finest’ counterpart, they stock less Western brands and are therefore cheaper. Delivery available. Get a FairPrice store loyalty card to accrue points which are redeemable against purchases.
From large hyper-marts to small convenience stores, Giant can be seen all over the island. This is a very competitively-priced supermarket offering fresh food and groceries. Some outlets of Giant also sell general merchandise, including clothing, furniture, toys, stationary and more. While cheap, Giant stocks a very limited range of international products. Use your ez-link Passion card to accrue points. Home delivery available.
Jasons and Market Place
Jasons and Market Place are high-end supermarkets in central locations which offer convenience goods, a huge range of international products including an excellent cheese and cold meats range. All this comes at premium prices to cover the handy locations and very pleasant shopping environment.
INDEPENDENT FOOD STORES
If you’re looking for a wide variety of meats (think prime cuts, sausages, cold cuts, salamis…. just to name a few) to be sent to your doorstep, look no further than Huber’s Butchery. The meats sold online are imported directly from farms, with all the hams and sausages produced in-house to ensure good quality control. Meat lovers can choose from a decent array of veal, beef, lamb, chicken and pork (marinated or otherwise). We love that the site has a ‘MeaThesaurus’ section – a dummy’s guide, if you will, to the different parts of meat on an animal, and how they would be best cooked. This guarantees that you buy the correct cuts of meat (and the most apt) for your dish of the day.
That’s not all. This European-styled premium specialty store also sells seafood and gourmet grocery items like bread, vegetables, cheese and fresh herbs on its online site. Definitely a place to check out if you want value-for-money ingredients.
Delivery fee: Free, with minimum order of $75 (you can also choose to pick up your order yourself)
Delivery time: By the next working day, for orders placed before 12 noon
Foodie Market Place
This small shopfront sells freshly butchered meat (lamb, beef), frozen meats and processed foods, cheese and canned products. The meat is exceptionally good value and worth buying in bulk to stick in the freezer. 225 Outram Road (you can park behind in Eng Hoon St).
A 24-hour institution in Little India, where it is possible to buy anything and everything. From a bidet to curry paste, shoes to photo albums and everything in between. The supermarket selection is extensive and includes a large range of Indian ingredients, but there’s plenty of western brand names too. There’s also dairy, fresh fruit and vegetables and dry goods. Arrive early as it can get very crowded – take a deep breath and get stuck in! Finish off with a great quality (and cheap) curry on the rooftop. Basement parking is available. Serangoon Rd, Little India.
QB Food (online only)
This website sells a wide selection of fresh or frozen meats, fresh or groceries, great cheese, processed foods and canned products. The meat is exceptionally good value. Delivery.
Redmart (online only)
Island-wide delivery of a huge selection of supermarket products – including alcohol – but no fresh food. If you buy in bulk, Redmart can be very good value.
For more helpful tips head to our living in Singapore section.