Grocery Shopping in Singapore

Ah, finally. Peace and quiet. Marcus has left on travel and both of the girls have overcome their cough and are back in school. We did have an emergency pick-up this past Friday because Jo knocked her head on a concrete block during recess which resulted in the tiniest of contusions but the greatest amount of blood I’ve ever seen. It was a moment that had us greatly missing Dr. Uncle Jonas nearby to give us guidance. It was also a moment that made me realize I really need to put-on my big girl panties and learn how to drive here because it costs about $30 SGD to take a Grab to the girls’ school.

Anyway, on to the post at hand. As I mentioned before, we moved from a suburban environment which meant driving to the grocery store, shopping for a ton of groceries in one outing, and hauling everything back to the house. I correctly assumed that the way I shop would change once we lived in a city. Currently, because we’re living the high life and the grocery store is connected to our building, I shop almost every day and only for things we need immediately. In a few weeks, when we move to our permanent housing, we will no longer have the luxury of a mall beneath us. Instead I’ll have a seven minute walk to the nearest grocery store and I don’t see this going well at all and the family will probably starve. I have also been looking into bikes with baskets because I would love nothing more than to haul groceries in a bike, up a hill and if my legs don’t look like Tina Turner’s by the end of this adventure I’ll be pissed.

Before we moved here we heard that everything is more expensive in Singapore, from food and alcohol to even paper products such as greeting cards. I have noticed the prices seem higher but when you do the math they are frequently equivalent to the States (it’s currently $0.74 USD to $1.00 SGD). The biggest difference I have noticed so far (and mind you, I have not investigated even a small fraction of the grocery stores available) are the strawberry and blueberry prices (we love berries). For a nice, neat row of about 12 strawberries you can expect to pay $15 SGD which is about $11.15 USD which is more expensive than even the pint of organic strawberries I could find at a U.S. grocery store.

We also recently celebrated a birthday and an ice cream cake was requested. In the states I could get an ice cream cake for $20.00 USD. In Singapore? I spent $90.00 SGD ($65.89 USD). It was fairly small (which was fine, it was just the four of us) and mostly ice cream with a thin layer of cake at the bottom (the crunchy bits of a Carvel cake were greatly missed). We’ll chalk that up to lessons learned and hope the next birthday doesn’t require an ice cream cake.

The $90 SGD ice cream cake

Another aspect of grocery shopping in Singapore is that it can be hit or miss. Singapore relies heavily on imports from other countries with roughly 90% of their food coming from other countries. I am beginning to learn that if there is something you seek and you find it, buy as much as you can because it might not be there next time. We had half and half for our coffee for the first week and then, it was just gone. I couldn’t find it anywhere. Half and half has since made a return and I’ve now picked up the habit of purchasing two every time I do a shop.

For the most part I have been able to find just about everything I’m looking for though every now and then I must work with an alternative. Like I said, we love our berries so cutting out strawberries due to their price has been hard but the blackberries are somewhat affordable. We have found a new love for plums as we haven’t found an apple we like (we love Honeycrisp which I don’t think exists here). However, none of these things are life altering and we’re making it through just fine. Oh! Actually, there has been one life altering change for the children and that is the lack of mac & cheese. Specifically, Kraft Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese. That has been sorely missed though, thanks to a special Auntie state-side, we received three boxes in the mail recently.

The girls would eat this every day, breakfast/lunch/dinner, if I let them. Which I don’t. Because that would be neglectful. And because I would eat it, too.

So, that’s about it. I’ll have to update you when we do get settled into the new place and I have to actually make an effort to do the grocery shopping. But, in a nutshell, shopping here isn’t too terribly expensive though, I think I mentioned this in the last post, it can be kind of crazy. Think “Black Friday shopping” every day. And, if you can avoid it, don’t shop during the weekend. That is the best piece of advice I can give anyone.

Published by Lauren Tepaske

I am a full-time mom and wife with a penchant for writing a humorous point-of-view of daily life.

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