Tired from work, Digant Sutar cherishes to enjoy a home cooked meal in Singapore. Thanks to his wife Aarti who never faces trouble preparing his favourite Malwani dishes, far away from her home base. This is because Aarti has access to Karipatta (curry leaves), almost all Indian vegetables from Arbi (Colocasia), Capsicum and Pumpkin along with deftly packed masalas (spices) to make cooking easy and convenient. This is quite easy as there are many Indian stores in Singapore.
She does not have to travel half the way across the city to get them either. “We have an Indian store right in our building in Jurong. The stores are all hop, skip and a jump away. I never miss my country in Singapore,” says Sutar.
Jurong has many Indians but other areas too have access to the many branches of Sri Murugan Traders where a large selection of Indian masalas and condiments from across states are available at these stores. The large number of Tamilian population has led to the proliferation of Indian stores across the country, which stock all things Indian, from clothes to pulses and condiments to Indian movie DVDs.
All of India at Mustafa
Mustafa Center in Little India area gives a taste of everything Indian. A large number of Indians head to this 24-hour mall, which stocks everything from Indian spices and condiments to clothes to Indian jewellery. This mall is as famous with foreign tourists as it is with Indians who look to buy everything from electronics to clothing accessories including Indian brands.
"It was like a Target, Walmart, Kohl’s, Ace Hardware, Best Buy, Office Depot, Macy’s, Sears…all in one!" American blogger whose blog goes by the name Wrinkled Chiffon description of Mustafa on her first visit.
The mall is a one-stop shop for all things Indian. Ravi Narayana wanted to celebrate his 45th wedding anniversary in Singapore by renewing his vows. He wanted to re-do the entire Indian wedding in all its glory for his Singaporean friends as well. “My children finished all the shopping for the wedding by purchasing all the ingredients necessary for the banquet. They also purchased all the clothes and other gifts at Mustafa Center,” he says.
Aren’t you keen on spending time cooking? Do you miss the occasional Indian breakfasts at restaurants? A large number of Indians weave into the Singapore culture of eating at Hawking zones at every building or colony. Few in Singapore actually cook at home because the cost and quality of food served at these zones maintain very high hygiene standards.
Singapore has many options for those who want to replicate this culture but with their favourite Indian food. Those who like typical South Indian meals can just pop into MTR for its awesome Masala Dosas. The Curry Culture has the best mutton and meat curries for those who prefer the best of what North Indian cuisine has to offer. Tiffin Room and Komala Villas Restaurant also serve authentic Indian food that rival established restaurants in India.
Pujas were never easier
Indian expats in Singapore have access to the best of what India has to offer because the quality of spices exported to the country pass the stringent standards imposed by the government. Singaporeans in India also get a taste of ‘all the flavours’ from all the states of India, which is not very common in the country itself.