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The Supermarket Hierarchy

Food shopping in Singapore can be a challenge, so no wonder the locals favour eating out at the hawker markets.  In general, the supermarkets that look and feel more like a Western supermarket will cost you the most and those that loudly yell “you’re living in Asia” will cost you the least. No single supermarket will stock every item on your shopping list and every individual store from each supermarket chain carries different products. 

Marketplace – this is the top-tier of Singapore supermarkets. It’s owned by Cold Storage but shopping here will cost you the most amount of money, although they do carry more imported products than the other supermarkets. 

Cold Storage – the Fresh Food People! Now, where have I heard that before? There are more Cold Storage supermarkets throughout the “expat areas” of Singapore than the other chains. Though they carry a decent amount of imported products and have a reasonably wide variety of brands to choose from, there is still less choice than a regular Australian supermarket. The stores range from very big at Jelita to cramped at Chancery Court. There are also a few CS Specialty stores that are smaller gourmet shops that don’t carry a full range of products dotted around the main area of Singapore.

Fairprice Finest – the top of the NTUC Fairprice tree. The stores are typically large, spacious and well-lit, with a good variety of products and prices that are far cheaper than Cold Storage. To me, the fruit and vegetables at Fairprice is better quality than those at Cold Storage but most times I visit I forget that you have to get them weighed and priced in the produce section and not at the checkout!  For produce items (and some dairy items such as cheese) the pricing is typically per 100g, not per kilo, so be careful as you could find yourself paying $10+ for a lettuce.

Fairprice Xtra – the shopping experience is basically the same as Fairprice Finest but they also stock electronics, homewares and a small range of clothes. It’s not Kmart but it’s the closest you’re going to get to it in Singapore.

Fairprice – Fairprice have the largest number of stores of all the supermarket chains in Singapore. Regular Fairprice stores are not as spacious as those branded Finest or Xtra. They have a reasonable range but the organisation is a little haphazard? Due to space constrictions I assume many stores here (and Toys R Us in particular) don’t have a stock room, so stock in boxes is often stored on the shop floor making getting around the store an obstacle course. But Fairprice will save you money! For Australian readers think Bi-Lo.

Giant – Giant is also broken up into 3 different tiers, similar to Cold Storage and Fairprice. Until recently they operated “hypermarkets” but they have since acquired the Shop n Save stores. The Giant Hypermarkets are BIG! They have a huge produce section where you bag your produce and take it to the weigh and pricing section before proceeding to the checkout. They stock a large range of groceries, electronics, homewares, clothes and sporting goods. If you’re Australian it’s kind of like a down-market Venture with a Franklins attached. Giant Super just carries groceries and is typically quite crowded with not many imported Western products, but its prices are cheap and it’s good for a basic shop. There are also a few Giant Express stores for a quick top-up.

Sheng Siong – I’m going to be completely honest here – I’ve never shopped at Sheng Siong but I believe their prices are rock bottom! I can’t say any more than that as I’ve never been there.

Where I choose to shop really depends on both my shopping list and my mood. I typically choose between a couple of different Cold Storage outlets or Fairprice Finest. My choices are also dictated by neither of these brands selling durian.  
There are items that I like that I just can’t get anywhere but Marketplace (diced fruit in small containers for school lunches, spring to mind) so if I want them I have to accept the cost and buy them there. My local Fairprice Finest only stocks iceberg lettuce, so if I shop there I know I will have to go to another store (even just a different Fairprice Finest) to buy a different variety of lettuce. Grocery shopping here takes thought and forward planning!

If you’re new to Singapore you just have to give yourself time to figure out the supermarket thing. I promise it will get easier, just not as easy as it was at home!

This article was originally published in December 2013 and has been modified for the ANZA Guide to Singapore.

About the Author
Kelly Jackson-Nash is an Australian expat living in Singapore with her husband and two daughters.  Kelly and her family moved to Singapore in 2011.  Kelly hopes to see and experience everything about Singapore before their time is over. Kelly has her own blog at http://ourbigexpatadventure.wordpress.com/

Member Benefits: How much can you save?

I just worked out that I saved $310 using my ANZA Membership in the last year: $168 savings on entry to Go-Go Bambini for playgroup, $84 on a case of Chandon, $40 at The Butcher and $18 on tickets to Disney on Ice.

With our other great discounts you could save even more. We have up to 30{d2c05350095ed942d62ca1635aad234a702e9575e5f9632e6c89e76dec25dfbf} off your bill at restaurants and bars: Burlamacco, Dallas, D’Bell, Harry’s, Hog’s Breath and the Prince of Wales.

10{d2c05350095ed942d62ca1635aad234a702e9575e5f9632e6c89e76dec25dfbf} off concert tickets for André Rieu and Pete Murray.

Save on meat and fish with discounts at The Barbie Girls, The Butcher, The Fishwives and The Swiss Butchery.

Get fit and well with discounts at Orchard Clinic, Core Synergy Studio and Gym and Tonic.

Decorate with discounts at Ni-Night and John Sullivan Design.

Read up with a special subscription offers from Expat Living and Harper’s Bazaar.

Save when you travel with discounts from Accor Hotels and Resorts, Le Meridien Angkor, MesaStila Resort, The Mulia Bali and VillaBali; special packages from Angsana Bintan, Ayada Maldives, Kata Rocks Phuket, Laguna Bintan and corporate rates at the Orchard Hotel.

Keep your eye on the website ‘What’s New’ feed or our Facebook page for new offers as they arrive.

View our Member Benefits

Fine Art Prints as a Keepsake Gift for Friends Leaving Singapore

                    ‘Shophouses’ by Clare Haxby

When expat friends, colleagues or neighbours return home after their time in Singapore, finding the right gift can be a challenge. One idea is to give a fine art print with a Singaporean theme. Kathy Chamberlain explores 3 artist options who provide a selection of their work as fine art prints. Each have very different paint styles from Derek Corke’s more traditional water colours to Clare Haxby and Diana Francis who have more contemporary styles. 

Clare Haxby
Since 2007 accomplished British expat artist Clare Haxby has lived and travelled throughout SE Asia . She currently enjoys working on a large scale exploring the iconic architectural landmarks of Singapore. Subjects range from The Colonial Black and White Plantation Houses to the Shophouses of Blair Road and the colourful community of Little India.
16 paintings of Clare’s Singapore Landmarks Series are available as signed  Fine Art Prints in a limited edition of 250. They are printed on museum quality A1 (594 x 841 mm) paper with embossed certified studio stamp and are artist signed. The prints are available online from Clare’s website as well as her studio) and are sold framed for $600/unframed for $350. They are nicely packaged with her marketing label and rolled in a sturdy cardboard cylinder. On request the packaged cylinder can have a gift tag with personal message attached around the print & wrapped in tissue paper.
Delivery within Singapore is $20. Paintings and artworks to be shipped internationally are done so using Fedex and are quoted on destination. Clare has open days listed on her website otherwise the studio is open by appointment.
artist’s studio: 41 Malcolm Road, Singapore 308276
phone: +65 9326 5502
email: clare@clarehaxby.com
Diana Francis

‘Sudden Shower’  by Diana Francis

Diana studied art in London then worked in the art world as an illustrator and graphic designer before settling in Singapore 16 years ago to work as a fine artist. 
She paints architectural scenes ranging from Rocher Road, Boat Quay, St Josephs and other well known locations and has a range of limited edition print options to choose from. Her works are printed on both canvas (either stretched or unstretched) and paper. Generally there are 2 sizing options for canvas and one sizing option for fine art paper per artwork. The range of print sizes varies accordingly per original artwork size. Pricing ranges from $280 to $1000. Diana also has Lumi tiles (stand alone perspex blocks) and a wide range of other merchandise items on her website featuring her artwork. Unframed prints come in a sealed tube.
Orders take 3 working days and her studio accepts cash, cheque, Visa and Mastercard. 
Diana Francis Studio
Block 43, Jalan Merah Saga
#03-76 The Workloft@Chip Bee
Singapore 278115
+65 9120 1989
email: studio@dianafrancis.com

Derek Corke

Derek Corke a London trained artist, portrays many well known Singaporean scenes. The ones on his web site are Casting Off, Boat Quay, Raffles Hotel, Basket Shop at Arab Street, Katong Corner, Harry’s Bar, Beach Road and Emerald Hill.
Derek sells Digital Fine Art Prints in various sized Limited Edition Runs (200-480) of his watercolour portfolio as well as open edition runs. They can be purchased from numerous retail outlets listed on his website or online using registered mail, UPS and FEDEX as dispatch options. The prints vary in price and sizing and range from $18 for a single small (28 x 23cm) Open Edition print with mount to a large (58 x 45cm) Limited Edition print with mount. There are also print collections of 4 with mounts in small, medium and large sizes ranging from $65 to $350.
(65) 9730 1763
email: Wendy Shelly at  ianandwendy@gmail.com

Lotus Culture: Shop for a Cause

Lotus Culture is holding a Grand Sale in celebration of their Third Anniversary. All items are at a discount of up to 50{d2c05350095ed942d62ca1635aad234a702e9575e5f9632e6c89e76dec25dfbf}. These are high quality products sewn by survivors of human trafficking in Cambodia. All proceeds go to the beneficiary. We accept cash and cheques. This is one action that you can take to help to rebuild the lives of survivors of human trafficking.

The Grand Sale will be held 1-4 May 2014, 10am to 6pm at 108 Cairnhill Road (near Newton and Somerset MRTs).

Lotus Culture is a Singapore registered company that partners with Cambodian NGO AFESIP to provide employment to graduates of the AFESIP vocational training program for survivors of human trafficking.

A Ball Gown on any Budget

The countdown is seriously on to Anza’s 50th Anniversary Black and White Ball. For all those ladies looking for a relatively last minute ball gown purchase here are some options for a broad range of budgets .

Eighty Two Tales, is a small boutique store with lots of personality in vibrant Haji Lane. It specialises in affordable men’s and women’s designer apparel and also offers some great accessories in the way of bags, chunky bracelets and elasticized belts. Check out the other boutiques in Haji Lane while you are there for clutches and accessories.

At Eighty Two Tales in Haji Lane this fabulous geometric print maxi for $60.

Swedish fashion giant H&M offers a good range and caters to any budget
Affordable but sophisticated and elegant black maxi dress for $24.90
And a floaty, lined white sleeveless dress with sparkly embroidered yoke, $159

Pop in to Metro at Paragon for full length black and white gowns from $170. While you are at Paragon, also check out the US designer BCBGMAXAZRIA and UK label Coast for their red carpet range of gowns as well as glam accessories.

Avana, now in the Shaw Centre (#23-11), stocks high-end gowns, including the black velvet gown featured in the ANZA Black and White Ball 2014 advertising.

20 things about Singapore that at first appear unusual but become normal:

1. Petrol station attendants who fill your car up with petrol.

2. Ambulances stop at red lights with their lights flashing and siren wailing.
3. The floor numbering system starts at “1″. There is no ground floor.
4. Using blinkers/indicators appears to be optional, as does sticking to the one lane on the road.  Feel like straddling both lanes? No problem!
5. Men riding unrestrained in the back of open trucks on their way to work.
6. Beef mince at the supermarket costing $3.50 per 100g ( that is $35 per kilo ).
7. The smell of durian.  It is pungent but is very much a part of Singapore.
8. Fast internet speeds with no download/upload limit!  You pay for line speed not data allowance.
9. Low crime levels and feeling very safe on the streets at night.
10. Monsoon rain and thunder storms arriving out of nowhere.
11. Sweating 350 days of the year.
12. Being able to “pop overseas” for the day.
13. Travelling to pretty much any part of the island by public transport.
14. Very few places to buy clothes if you are bigger than a size 12.
15. Filling out forms asking for ‘race’. Most expats would fall into the category of “other”.
16. Arriving at Changi airport, passing through the Passport Control, picking up bags and being out of the airport within 30 minutes.
17. To have air-con running the majority of the time.
18. Buying movie tickets or ordering a pizza on-line and being asked for your FIN number (that is your National ID number).
19. Ordering a taxi and receiving electronic confirmation that it will arrive within 5 – 7 minutes – and it does!
20. The efficiency of the public transport system (buses and trains).

10 things about Singapore that will always seem “unusual”:

1. Child car restraints fitted to the front passenger seat.
2. Children not wearing any restraints in cars at all.
3. Government owned media.  Print, radio and television are all government owned.
4. Cheezels & Milo being made in Malaysia.
5. Bread being enriched with sugar.
6. Seeing construction workers having to shower themselves outside of construction sites.
7. Always being asked on the phone for the details of the “Employment Pass (EP) Holder”. In the case of the ‘trailing spouse’ it is the EP holder who holds the power.
8. Capital punishment, including ‘lashings’ for serious crimes (now you understand the low crime).
9. Maids not allowed to swim in the pools at condominiums, yet have to watch over the children swimming in the pool.
10. Supermarkets running out of an item for months at a time.

Many items listed above were originally published on the blog of Kelly Jackson-Nash and was modified for the ANZA Guide to Singapore.

About the Author
Kelly Jackson-Nash is an Australian expat living in Singapore with her husband and two daughters.  Kelly and her family moved to Singapore in 2011.  
She hopes to see and experience everything about Singapore before their time is over.  
Kelly has her own blog at http://ourbigexpatadventure.wordpress.com/

Peranakan Magic : Learning to Cook Peranakan Style

Learning to cook with local ingredients can help a person feel more at home in a new country. Before moving to Singapore, Australian Sue Mannering had never heard of the Peranakans and thought a wet market meant making purchases whilst wearing galoshes. A cooking course on the East Coast also turned out to be a lesson in culture, food shopping and ‘targeted pounding’.

Who are the Peranakans?

According to the Peranakan Museum’s Visitor Guide, Peranakan means ‘child of’ or ‘born of’ in Malay and is used to refer to people of mixed ethnicity in South East Asia, particularly in the Straits. The majority of the Peranakan community is made up of Chinese Peranakans who initially settled in Malacca, Java and Sumatra but in the 19th Century, drawn by trade, migrated to Singapore and Penang.

Some cooking magic Peranakan-style

Intrigued by the word and the culture, I decided to participate in a Peranakan cooking course at Cookery Magic, hosted by Ruqxana Vasanwala. The recipes on the course sounded charming with names I found hard to wrap my tongue around like Ayam Tempra (chicken in soy sauce and lime) and Gulai Ikan (hot and sour fish).

Accompanied by my mother and daughter, who were on holiday in Singapore, we entered a kitchen in the back of Ruqxana’s East Coast home. There were woks sitting on portable gas burners, cooking utensils hanging from every available space and five cats resting in various poses.‘The style of cooking associated with the Peranakan culture is called Nyonya, the Peranakan name for women,’ said Ruqxana. Soon we were pounding garlic, shallots and chilli into a paste with a mortar and pestle. ‘The rempah (spice paste) is the most important part of the cooking process,’ said Ruqxana,. She inspected our work. ‘You’ll have to do some targeted pounding,’ she said and pointed out specks of chilli and garlic that were almost invisible to the naked eye. ‘You want the rempah smooth.’ Our hands were aching but Ruqxana said using a food processor doesn’t release the spice flavours as well as pounding. Nor will it produce a paste of the same texture.

Ruqxana dry roasted belachan, a dried shrimp paste, by taking a teaspoon of it and placing the spoon over an open flame for a few seconds. She added it to the rempah. This shrimp paste, which has a sharp odour, is a common ingredient in Peranakan cooking. As Ruqxana added spices to a heated wok to release their flavours, she sprinkled her cooking with stories of Peranakan traditions. For example, a Nyonya woman could tell if her future daughter in law was a good cook by listening to her pound the rempah.Then the magic happened. ‘Taste this,’ said Ruqxana and proffered a spoon she had dipped in the sauce in the wok. She wanted to know if the flavour should be adjusted for sweet, salty, spicy or bitterness. It was perfect, I thought. I could detect each flavour and yet it was a delicious complex mix that ended with spicy. Ruqxana insisted I taste again. Sweet, I decided, and in went more palm sugar (gula melaka), and more chilli.

The wet market

All the ingredients we used that day can be purchased at my local wet market, a market that isn’t wet but sells fresh fruit, meat, seafood and vegetables. I also discovered belachan, coconut cream, assam (tamarind), dried chilli, dried prawns, a variety of bottled sauces and pink torch flower (which the stallholder presented to me for free). It makes a nice contrast to strolling down a supermarket aisle with a trolley.Now, my favourite purchase from my local wet market sits beside the food processor on my kitchen bench – a heavy, black mortar and pestle.

Peranakan food facts

There are regional differences in the preparation of Peranakan food. A dish from Penang could use more tamarind, making it Thai in flavour. One from Malacca might use more coconut milk, which is an Indonesian influence.

Find out more about Ruqxana’s classes at Cookery Magic
Learn about Peranakan Culture
Visit the Peranakan Museum

Come and Train with ANZA Soccer

ANZA Soccer’s Head Coach Yakob and his professional team of coaches have put together an off-season training program open to both current players and other ANZA members. This is a great opportunity for kids to try out ANZA Soccer before the full season registration starts in May.

Sessions will be held on Thursday evenings from the 17th of April to the 5th of June. They will focus on soccer skills and fun scrimmages to keep the kids “fit to play” during the spring and early summer.

Click here to register or find out more about the program.

For more information about ANZA Soccer, please visit the Soccer Homepage.

Check Out Keong Saik Rd

This Chinatown neighbourhood used to be a prominent red-light district, but in the past few years, handfuls of fantastic bars, restaurants and cafes have sprouted up all over the neighbourhood – from spectacular cocktails to authentic Carribbean fare, and everything in between. Check out ANZA’s top picks.

1 Taratata Bistrot

35A Keong Saik Rd
Tel 6221 4506
Owned by French chefs Philippe Nouzillat and Bertrand Raguin, this bistro serves excellent, authentic fare. The service can be very good too, and the black-and-white-tile décor with red leather recreates a Parisian dining experience. Esquina Tapas Bar
16 Jiak Chuan Rd
Tel 6222 1616

2 Muchachos

22 Keong Saik Rd
Tel 6220 0458
Muchachos has some of the best-value Mexican food you’ll find in the Lion City – the burritos are very large, very tasty and very reasonably priced (at around $12). The venue’s cool, too – think industrial black-and-white décor with exposed light bulbs.

3 Bartini

21 Keong Saik Rd
This new addition to the street is the third iteration of the original Club Street bar. Formerly the Restrospective, you can expect top-quality cocktails and a good party vibe.

4 Lime House

2 Jiak Chuan Rd
Tel 6222 3130
Laid back, with a Carribbean vibe, Lime House has top-notch service and their Wednesday night 3-for-1 rum punch deal is hard to beat. Their menu also features favourites such as traditional Jamaican Jerk Chicken.

5 Mariko’s

4 Jiak Chuan Rd
Tel 6221 8262
This Japanese restaurant is named after a fictional streetwalker, with minimalist styling and a well-priced menu – with interesting items such as Octopus Carpaccio and Miso Cod.

6 The Cufflink Club

6 Jiak Chuan Rd
Tel 9694 9623
A very slick cocktail bar, albeit fairly laddish (Hemingway fans will feel right at home). It’s not uncommon for the dance floor to get busy later in the evening. Watch your wallet – the drinks can get expensive.

7 Tantric

78 Neil Rd
Tel 6423 9232
Good for a girl’s night out, Tantric has an awesome beer garden at the front which is usually jam-packed, giving the venue a house-party feel. An added bonus: they offer double house pours for $10.

8 Esquina

Esquina started the ball rolling in Keong Saik, the first of its kind to open in the area back in December 2011. Created by Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton, this small restaurant isn’t cheap but has excellent food (not just tapas) and a great atmosphere.

9 Oriole Coffee Roasters

10 Jiak Chuan Rd
Tel 6224 8131
The coffee here is really good – up to the standard you’d see in Melbourne or Wellington. The décor features a funky arrangement of hanging light globes, and budding baristas can take coffee classes upstairs.

10 Burnt Ends

20 Teck Lim Rd, Singapore
Tel 6224 3933
It’s best to arrive at this East-meets-West bar and grill early for a front-row seat. A long counter seats 17 diners shoulder-to-shoulder and almost face-to-face with the chefs as they do their thing – their huge kilns are something to marvel at, too.

11 Keong Saik Snacks

49 Keong Saik Rd
Tel 6223 0660
Another in Chef Atherton’s stable, this small intimate venue has amazing food and delightful wait staff. It’s more affordable than Esquina, and don’t be misled by the name – you can get proper sit-down meals here, paired with good wines.

12 The Library

47 Keong Saik Rd
Tel 6221 8338
From the outside, The Library looks like an innocuous glass-fronted room with a bookshelf at one end. But tell the bookkeeper the secret password (get it from Keong Saik Snacks) and you enter the bar – a dimly-lit speakeasy with some truly imaginative and spectacular cocktails.

Ann Siang Hill

With a rich ambience of the old estate, Ann Siang Hill is a delightful enclave of conservation shop-houses filled with plenty of local bars, restaurants and boutiques. Founder of Travelshopa, Renée Lodens gives her top nine picks on a day out along Ann Siang Hill.

1 Shots Café

Address: 90 Club Street Singapore 069458
Contact: 6224 9259
Website: www.theshotscafe.com
Café by day, bar by night; Shots Café serves everything from delicious coffee to organic colas and for those who want to party, tequila. Its lively vibe makes it an ideal meeting point for gatherings and catch-ups with friends. They also have a selection of sandwiches, pies, cakes and more for the peckish lunch crowd.

2 Mythology

Address: 88 Club Street Singapore 069456
Contact: +65 6223 5570
Website: my-thology.com
A multi-label boutique stocked with a curated selection of chic independent labels from all over Asia, a shopping trip to MYthology never disappoints. Owner Apsara Oswal has a natural eye for talented emerging designers and a visit to MYthology always promises a surprise, as new designs are constantly brought in on a regular basis. 3 Pistola

Address: 93 Club Street Singapore 069461
Contact: 6438 2185
Website: www.facebook.com/pistolasingapore
This Asian-Mexican eatery serves mainly burritos, tacos, quesadillas and rice bowls with a local twist. Coriander, Kimchi and mango salsa add an Eastern flair to the classics, and are a nice little treat for fusion food lovers too. Finish your meal with an ice-cream cookie or a corn cup with coconut for dessert.

4 Oxwell & Co

Address: 5 Ann Siang Road Singapore 069688
Contact: +65 6438 3984
Website: oxwellandco.com
With the rustic ambience of an old shophouse, Oxwell & Co has a certain alfresco charm that keeps you coming back for more. While they serve cocktails and light snacks on Level 1, head up to Level 2 where the main restaurant is situated. As they have limited seating, be sure to make reservations beforehand especially if you are thinking of heading there during weekends.

5 Swagger

Address: 15 Ann Siang Road #01-01 Singapore 069695
Contact: +65 6223 5880
Website: swaggerstore.co
A hidden gem on the charming Ann Siang Hill, Swagger is definitely the go-to men’s boutique that I would recommend to dress your man from head to toe. Offering custom-made apparel and handmade shoes that can be customised according to your personal preference, shopping will definitely excite them as much as women’s boutiques exhilarate us.

6 Scoop

Address: 19 Ann Siang Road Singapore 069699
Contact: 6423 1213
Website: www.thescoop.com.sg
Modeled on the classic press clubs of the world, Scoop is Singapore’s dedicated hangout for hacks and flacks, and also attracts crowds who enjoy dining in its journalism-themed ambience with drinks and bar grub. Enjoy a drink with some pizza, burgers or poutine.

7 PS Café

Address: 45 Ann Siang Road #02-02 Singapore 069719
Contact: +65 9797 0648
Website: www.pscafe.com
Tucked away at the very end of the street is PS Café, the ideal place to rest and relax after a long day of shopping. I always enjoy a nice afternoon tea and desserts here with a quick trip onto the roof for a glorious view of Chinatown and the CBD.

8 Aston Blake

Address: 89 Club Street Singapore 069457 (By appointment only)
Contact: +65 6337 3504
Website: www.astonblake.com
A savvy bespoke menswear label with a fierce eye for detail, Aston Blake is all about individualism. The local label also offers a myriad of extra services that adds a lovely touch of luxury. For instance, you will find made-to-measure services at no additional cost, as well as gift-wrapping and international delivery services, which makes sending a present to that special someone overseas all the more convenient.

9 Drinks & Co

Address: 44 Club Street Singapore 069421
Contact: 6222 2005
Website: www.drinksandco.asia
Drinks & Co. more than a your local bottle shop – though it does stock house spirits, and wines at the best price you’ll find in the CBD. Swing by on your way to a BYO shindig, or stop off with a group of friends to wind down over a bottle and a few nibbles.