I like grocery shopping. I know some people find it a chore and try to keep their grocery pitstops as short as possible. But I take my time and wander the aisles.
We’re fortunate enough to live close to a huge NTUC FairPrice, Singapore’s largest grocery store chain. The store spans two floors and is pretty well-stocked. There’s a kitchen at the first floor next to the fresh produce section where you can have your meat and seafood purchases cooked or grilled on the spot. Next to the fruits and vegetables section, there’s a small indoor farm which houses plants grown without soil.
If you’re lucky (or unlucky), you might visit NTUC when the durian specials are out. The fruit has a pungent, sweet scent that you can detect as far as the store entrance. I’m a fan, but not everyone is. (There’s a reason why durian is banned on public transport here in Singapore!)
One of my favourite sections in our local NTUC is the International Food section. There you can find tasty products from Taiwan, Japan, USA, the UK (they even carry the Sainsbury’s house brands), and of course, the Philippines.
I thought it would be interesting to note down which Filipino products were on the shelves and how much it cost. Of course, you can get most, if not all, of these from smaller sari-sari stalls at Lucky Plaza. But the fact that they’re carried in one of Singapore’s largest retailers suggests that the demand for these products is strong enough to make it profitable for NTUC to stock them.
|Product||Price (Singapore $)||Price (Php equivalent)*|
|Noodle Queen Pancit Canton (454g)||3.20||112.00|
|Lucky Me! Pancit Canton Chilimansi (pack of 6)||3.10||108.50|
|White King Classic Puto (steamed rice cake) mix||2.90||101.50|
|Del Monte Filipino Style Spaghetti Sauce (500g)||3.60||126.00|
|Del Monte Mango Juice Drink (1L)||3.75||131.25|
|Barrio Fiesta Spicy Bagoong (sautéed shrimp paste)||4.80||168.00|
|Mama Sita’s Sinigang sa Sampalok (tamarind seasoning) mix (50g)||1.65||57.75|
|Mang Tomas All-Purpose Sauce (550g)||3.20||112.00|
|Datu Puti Soy Sauce (1L)||3.00||105.00|
|555 Sardines (1 can)||1.10||38.50|
* SGD 1 = PHP 35 as of today, with some rounding.
Noodles – both the usual pancit canton and the instant Lucky Me! kind – were a perennial favourite. Some of the brands also prominently display their halal certification on the packaging given the market here (for instance, Mama Sita’s mixes and marinades are halal-certified). I also realised Mang Tomas has dispensed with the name “lechon sauce” in favour of the more appropriate “all-purpose sauce”. Totoo, it goes with almost anything.
Some of the choices also seemed slightly odd to me (Why stock Rebisco crackers but no Skyflakes? Who buys all those Fudgee bars?).
A cursory price check on SM Online also shows the prices here are marked up over 100% on average compared to the Philippines. A similar can of 555 Sardines would set you back Php 18 if you buy it at SM, but costs over twice that in NTUC.
Then again, this is the taste of home. It’s the closest we’ll get to being there, at least for now.
Think critically dear readers,