A beginners’ guide to supermarket shopping in Singapore

guide to living in Singapore as an expat
New to Singapore? Missing Woolworths, Waitrose or Walmart? Getting your groceries in Singapore can be mind-boggling at first - don't fill your fridge without our guide to supermarkets in Singapore!

If you are new to Singapore and are feeling rather bewildered about where to buy broccoli and your usual fruit and veg, we’ve put together a rookie’s guide to supermarkets in Singapore so that you will know exactly where to shop for everything from Tim Tams to Marmite, and organic fruit and veg to fresh meat

NTUC FairPrice and FairPrice Finest: For unexpectedly good organic choices at decent prices
The daddy of Singapore supermarkets with over 120 outlets, NTUC FairPrice offers great deals and an excellent range. Check out the FairPrice house-brands for brilliant value; plus, the supermarket maintains a ‘basket of 500 essential items’ that are kept competitively priced. Its aim is to keep 90% of its Everyday Low Price items the cheapest on the market to moderate the cost of living (and we love tips on how to save money in Singapore). We’re big fans of the FairPrice Finest stores, where Culina operates the deli and butcher counters, providing delish fresh and cured meats carved on the spot (and the fruits and veg are infinitely fresher). For the Brits amongst you, look out for Tesco products (UK teabags! Hurrah!). Foodies from Aus: you can even pick up Tetsuya’s Truffle Salsa and Herbie’s Spices at FairPrice Finest! The larger FairPrice Finest branches stock organic produce and groceries – the East Coast Road branch has a particularly impressive range.
ATTENTION, SHOPPERS: Looking for Marmite? Strange but true: you’ll find it in the medicine aisle!
NTCU FairPrice, various locations; www.fairprice.com.sg

Giant: For when you need everything from a carton of milk to the kitchen sink
Giant is all about big savings on bulk buying, and has 61 stores of three distinct types here in Singapore. The eight ‘hypermarkets’ are a one-stop shop for groceries, household products, electronics, toys and clothes. Spend $200 in-store and bag yourself free delivery too. If you just can’t deal with a massive hypermarket, then head to one of its 25 supermarkets where you’ll still get a huge choice of fresh produce and groceries, or else to one of its 28 express stores that are open 24 hours a day for when you run out of milk and butter. Products are generally no-frills and well-priced (but there are lots of gems too, and good organic produce), which makes Giant a great choice when you are building your cupboard stock from scratch.
Giant, various locations, www.giantonline.com.sg

Cold Storage: For international goodies galore
Head to one of Cold Storage’s 51 stores if you are feeling a tad homesick and in need of a jar of vegemite, or a packet of hula hoops. Cold Storage is renowned amongst Singapore’s expats for always having a little piece of home on its shelves, even if it is sometime, uh hum, rather costly. Look out for some of its concept stores which have added extras such as in-house bakeries (its sesame seed bloomer is divine!) and build-your-own-pizza bars. Cold Storage is not the place to go if you are on a budget (it is impossible to leave there without spending $100 on a basket of nothing you needed!), but it is the place to go for quality air-flown veg and a decent selection of international goodies.  Online delivery is available to save you going in-store and buying a basket full of stuff you don’t need…
ATTENTION, SHOPPERS: Waitrose fans, while you won’t find ‘Majestic Basil’ here, Cold Storage and MarketPlace – see below – stock Waitrose and Duchy Organic products! And if you’re after live lobsters from Canada, Cold Storage Parkway Parade has them at $38 a piece.
Cold Storage, various locations, www.coldstorage.com.sg

Sheng Siong: For budget-savvy shoppers
With 33 stores located primarily in the heartlands of Singapore, Sheng Siong provides both wet and dry goods at reasonable prices. Shop for live, fresh and chilled seafood and well-priced veggies at this supermarket chain, which is a fave with savvy locals. Do not head in expecting to find too many treats from home, but do shop here for cupboard essentials at great prices.
Sheng Siong, various locations, www.shengsiong.com.sg

MarketPlace: For when you are feeling flush
Pitched as a lifestyle supermarket, and a subsidiary of Cold Storage, there are five MarketPlace stores in Singapore that offer top-notch fresh produce, fresh meat and seafood (including unshucked oysters, ooh-er), as well as a really good selection of international bits and bobs. It is very much a slightly upmarket version of Cold Storage, and a little bit more expensive too. Head to Raffles City’s MarketPlace for fresh sarnies, a salad bar and an amazing choice in cheeses if you are working in the area, and Tanglin Mall for the fab in-house bakery. Warning: the bakery is cash only!
ATTENTION SHOPPERS: The bakery at Tanglin MarketPlace really is amazing: we’ve made special trips there just for the ‘rusti’ bread (not a typo). You’ll  also find wholemeal organic pita bread and addictive pain au chocolat! 
MarketPlace, located in I12 Katong, Raffles City, Tanglin Mall, Paragon and Hillview Rise, www.coldstorage.com.sg

Meidi-Ya: For when you want to make supermarket shopping a bit of a treat
Meidi-Ya may only have the one store here on the Little Red Dot, but what a store it is! It remains the only supermarket here that sells Marmite crisps for starters… Aside from a fab stockpile of goodies from the UK, it also has a huge variety of fresh food imported directly from Japan. High-quality products are par for the course here, but be prepared to part with a fair few $$ when you get to the check-out! Online shopping is also available, which may well be the way to go to prevent being lured into buying treats you don’t really need!
Meidi-Ya, 177 River Valley Road, #B1-50 Liang Court Shopping Centre, Singapore; www.meidi-ya.com.sg

Redmart: For when you can’t be bothered to lug home your shopping
Although Redmart is only available online, it is still very much worth a mention and is becoming a hugely popular way to shop here in Singapore. The service is improving greatly after some initial kinks, and the grocery choice is huge. International goodies are abundant, thanks to its new Market Place with goods from independent sellers, and delivery is free if you spend over $100 (easy done!). Even if you still prefer to choose your fresh meat and produce in person, it is still a great way to shop for all the heavy stuff you don’t fancy lugging back from the supermarket!
ATTENTION, SHOPPERS: Check out the Market Place for wine shopping and homewares from the likes of Singapore Trading Post and Mountain Living!
Redmart, online only, www.redmart.com

Mustafa: For when you can’t find what you need anywhere else (and for an experience like no other!)
This place is a 24/7 Aladdin’s Cave that you will love and hate in equal measures. If there is an item that Mustafa doesn’t sell then it isn’t worth having anyway. You can literally buy anything from airline tickets to Rolex watches here along with your weekly grocery shopping (which always comes in cheap as chips compared to a lot of other supermarkets). Even if you don’t actually need to buy anything, then this is a place worthy of a visit just for the experience (and you will never, ever leave empty-handed no matter how strong your resolve). Prepare for stampedes at peak times, but if you can get there when it is less chaotic you are sure to get all the grocery essentials you could possibly ever need, along with a new telly, a visa for your holiday to India and some diamond earrings.
Mustafa, 145 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore 207704; www.mustafa.com.sg

Ryan’s Grocery: For people of all dietary requirements
Ryan’s Grocery only sources high-quality natural food to suit people of all dietary requirements including lactose intolerance, gluten-free and nut allergies. If this sounds like you, you need to get this store on your shopping list stat to stock your fridge with organic meats, gluten free pastas, raw honey and spray free veggies. We’re a huge fan of their Aussie butchery too, definitely score one for the barbie.
Ryan’s Grocery, 29 Binjai Park, Singapore 589831; www.ryansgrocery.com

Warehouse Club: For all your bulk-buying needs
Missing Costco? The Warehouse Club is the largest retail format of NTUC and is great for bulk-buying and super saver discounts. Located in the FairPrice Hub in Joo Koon, it stocks all you’ll ever need for the home including an impressive range of Kirkland products. A single shop here will have you sorted on groceries and household consumables for the week, maybe even the month. One thing to note: it is a bit of a hassle to get to if you don’t drive, but you can get free delivery with minimum spend of $500. The store is also members only but purchasing a membership is quick, easy and only costs $20 a year. Costco who?
Warehouse Club, FairPrice Hub, Level 3, 1 Joo Koon Circle; www.warehouseclub.com.sg

Koryo Mart: For stashing up on Korean snacks
No need to hop on a six hour flight to grab all your Korean cooking necessities. Koryo Mart stocks an impressive range of food where you can grab all the kimchi, rice cakes, instant rice, and all the Korean snacks and drinks you’ll ever need. Lacking the tools to make your bibimbap? They’ve got that too, complete with metal spoons and chopsticks.
Koryo Mart, stores at 313@Somerset and Compass One; www.koryo.sg

Sri Murugan: For an authentic taste of India
If you don’t have a bevy of Indian relatives flying in spices for you on demand, Sri Murugan is your next best bet. This Indian supermarket stocks a huge range of fresh veggies, spices, as well as Indian and international groceries at reasonable prices. There’s stores dotted all around the island or shop from home with Sri Murugan’s shopping app and get your groceries delivered to your home.
Sri Murugan, Various locations; www.srimurugantrading.com

Mahata Market
Newly opened in Century Square with a branch in Kitchener Complex too, this hybrid resto-grocery store lets you order your food at the entrance and shop for groceries while you wait. Wind down after your shop with a healthy meal and get to see just how tasty its produce is. Great for a quick shop in the Tampines area (and way cheaper than Cold Storage). Did we mention they do subscription boxes for fruit, veg, juice cleanses and even cheese?Mahata Market, Kitchener Complex, Level 3, 809 French Road, Singapore 200809 and 2 Tampines Central 5 #B1-07, Century Square, Singapore 529509; www.mahota.sg

Like this story? Here’s more we think you’ll enjoy:

Everything you need to know to go organic
Where to buy international groceries and snacks
Best online supermarkets
Best butchers for for barbecues in Singapore

Don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly newsletter and follow us for sneak peeks and fun moments on HoneyKids Instagram!