Thursday, 21 November 2013

Food Shopping

**I should warn you that this post is for people in the UK unless you want to tell me about some good value places you shop!**
When Mark said we were going to be moving one of the first things I found out was that Singapore is expensive.  Food would be expensive, housing would be expensive and cars are expensive.  Luckily Marks work has taken care of two of those things and in the grand scheme of things paying a little bit more for food shouldn’t really matter, however I didn’t want to just get ripped off.

When we first arrived we were so lost and well….a little bit hungry we headed to Market Place at Tanglin Mall.  It was easy to find as we could easily type Tanglin into Sat Nav and it is quite close to Marks work.  We knew it was probably the most expensive place to head to, but it seemed the easiest at the time.  Well, when we got there we did find it expensive, but knowing that we only needed a few essentials helped and it was nice having that little trip into the city.  Market Place has prices more in line with doing all of your regular grocery shops in Waitrose or M&S.  Actually a lot of the branding on tins was Waitrose, but a lot also seemed to be American as well.

Next time we needed shopping we went to Cold Storage at Centrepoint mall.  This is on Orchard Road so the very middle of the shopping district and it would mean us quite easily tapping into Sat Nav where we wished to go.  This grocery shop is all over the island and is quite popular as it does still have some branding that you’ll be used to from the UK.

Even Cold Storage was quite expensive for us as in the UK we really shopped around quite a bit.  I did keep reminding myself that although Singapore has a massive presence, it really is tiny and isn’t like Scotland and can hand over vast areas of land to farming.  “Of course it’s going to be expensive!” I reminded myself, “but think of everything you are getting in return.” 

OK-this is going a bit like Goldilocks now, but the third grocery shop we did was just right.  Finally we found a NTUC Fairprice which is excellent value for money and is much more comparable to the UK.  It doesn’t really have many brands but I’m more than happy to get what I need from there.  There happens to be one within walking distance from our neighbourhood and I’ve picked up a few things I would say were bargains there.  I got a pack full of 8 bulbs of garlic for $1.65, 5 carrots for 93 cents, 500g of spaghetti was $1.65 and quite a big shoulder of pork for only $3.16 (it was reduced from $7).  We are constantly snacking on grapes which are about $4.40 per kg which is the cheapest I’ve found whilst here.  Cheese seems quite expensive for really plain stuff so I got 250g for $7.15, but that’s without really looking about.  I only needed a bit of it for a pasta bake when I run out of ideas for tea one night! 

I also went along to Fairprice Finest when I needed to post some letters one day at Clementi Mall and found that the prices were relatively all right, for example I got 3 sweet potatoes for $2.32.  It’s a bit more Western and has more food similar to Cold Storage, but is still better value.  I did find myself paying $2.90 for a packet of beef gravy as I couldn’t find any at all.  Oh well, Mark said it was nice and it went with (a much reduced in price) packet of rump steak we bought the other day.

I like shopping around and trying to make more interesting meals than I would have done in the UK.  I am trying to look on  Pinterest for ideas so that we have a variety of different things to eat, and we were always warned that is you try to just eat Western food the prices would be astronomical.  I find that a little bit odd though, as I wouldn’t want haggis, neeps and tatties here anyway!