Singapore is a fantastic place to visit. On one of our trips to Indonesia, we decided to hop on over to Singapore for the weekend and we are so glad we did! We jam-packed our two days there, viewing architecture, trying out local open air food joints (hawker markets), enjoying the green plants that are growing into the buildings’ sides and roofs, and of course, exploring the wet markets. But first, per the usual set-up, here’s the map showing the trip from Jakarta to Singapore:
Getting to Singapore is pretty easy– a short flight from Jakarta. Although, depending on what airline you take, you may end up in departing from the domestic gates instead of the international gates– just make sure you check! More on that in a different post. For now… wet markets!
Wet markets are more or less large grocery markets… indoor famers markets. But on crack. They have everything from produce to fish to meat to eggs to dried goods to more exotic species, depending on the market. In Singapore, there are a multitude of these wet markets. A simple Google search for Singapore Wet Markets will give you tons of results. You can find articles talking about the best 5, the top 10, the one to visit, etc. We chose two based on proximity to our hotel and also a few articles that I had researched talked about two in particular: the Tekka Wet Market and the Chinatown Wet Market. These two markets are large, carry a wide range of products, and have decent hours. The Tekka Wet Market is located in Tekka Center and is known as one of the best culturally diverse markets. It is also the largest wet market in Singapore with more than 280 stalls. In addition, it has restaurants, so you can do everything in one place. Finally, it is a great market because it has hours into the afternoon (most wet markets are only open earlier in the day). Here it is on a map:
The Chinatown Wet Market, as the name implies, is located in Chinatown. It is also a central location. It is know for its more exotic items. You can find this market in the Chinatown Complex. It also has a Hawker Market, or an area of local cheap eats. This market is open only until noon and if you are looking for something in particular, you should arrive early for the best selection. Here it is on a map:
Because we were only in town for the weekend and staying in a hotel room (no kitchen) and the fact that I really don’t like seafood at all, we didn’t purchase anything big at the markets. We stuck to spices and ended up meeting a great guy (Anthony) who makes his own spice blends and ships them all over the world. Something we learned about Indonesia food on this trip was their use of candlenuts in curries. We found out that this toasted candlenut is what gives Indo food a lot of its unique flavor. We also made sure to purchase a LOT of spices from Anthony.
So, what can you find at these markets besides spices? All sorts of things!!
Like, Vegetables and Fruits:
Eggs and Dried Goods (fish, mushrooms, peppers, shrimp and tofu crackers, etc)
Fish! Sharks, tuna, cuttlefish, and all sorts of seafood that you have never seen or heard of!
And of course, the meats and more exotics- frogs, eels, and even turtles!
You can find all sorts of items in these markets. Also, they’re used to tourists and I promise you won’t be the only one there. There are lots of people walking around and snapping photos, just remember that people are actually grocery shopping here as well- so mind your manners and try not to get in the way. Also, we found that some stall owners did not want us to take photos- these places tended to put up signs saying as much, but it always pays to ask if you can take some photos before you just start snapping. It may seem really crazy (and a little creepy!) to see literally hundreds of live frogs in cages for sale, but remember that every culture is different. Show some respect and you’ll be just fine.
I would recommend wearing closed toe shoes– they will rinse down the floors and the “wastewater” can appear less than appetizing at times (remember they’re cutting up fish on the spot!) Also, note that you can get to these markets either by walking or taxi or of course, by taking the public transportation. Singapore public transportation is amazing and highly suggest taking advantage of it! The Singapore Rail (MRT) provides extensive coverage of Singapore!